Activities of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo have been temporarily paralysed following prolonged strike by members of the hospital’s Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professionals, JOHESU.
The Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professionals, JOHESU, had suspended its nine-day-old strike Saturday last week, saying the decision was made after a nine-hour meeting with representatives of the federal government in Abuja.
The Union had embarked on a nationwide strike on September 20 to press home their demands regarding a myriad of issues including salary adjustments, promotion arrears and improved working conditions for its members.
Addressing the press last week, the National chairman of the Union, Biobelemoye Josiah, said the strike had been suspended only “in principle”, pursuant to a NEC meeting of the Union which will be held on Tuesday to access the situation and reach a conclusive decision, confirming that the Union had reached an agreement with the Federal government and the workers are to resume work on Wednesday this week.
However, Straightnews reporter who visited the hospital Tuesday and Wednesday can authoritatively confirm that members of JOHESU were still on strike and those who reported for duty locked themselves in their different offices, while others were seen in groups discussing about the strike and other personal issues.
Our reporter visited Psychiatry, ENT, Dental Clinic, Radiology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatric, Cardio-thoracic Surgical, Urology, General Surgery, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy and Pathology Departments, and discovered that medical doctors, dentists, pathologists, nurses and laboratory scientists, among others could not attend to patients owing to inability to access their files or for new out-patients to pay and obtain receipts.
At the Dental Clinic, our reporter said the dentists were on hand to attend to patients, but some other medical workers on strike frustrated their efforts. At the Maternity Unit, nurses were busy singing to pregnant women and close to Dental Clinic; some people went and tested their blood pressure. In Room 128 visited by our reporter Wednesday, one of the striking staff hoodwinked our reporter to wait for a staff, which will sell a card and open a folder for him, an action which never came to pass.
According to our reporter, many out-patients were seen leaving the hospital for private hospitals. Other wasted precious man-hours and could not get any information on what to do next since the hospital management did not inform many of them of the strike.
A staff who did not want his name in print was “happy that JOHESU members were able to paralyse the activities of the hospital because some members of the public wrongly believe that medical doctors and nurses are the most essential personnel in the system, unknowingly that other staff like us are equally important in the health-care delivery services.”
He, continued, this “serves Federal Government better because it prefers the welfare of some health personnel to other, but this strike would, no doubt, cause business boom for private hospitals in Uyo and its environs as some patients could not wait for the medical workers to call off their strike.”
In a telephone interview with our reporter today, Professor Etete Peters, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital established in 1999 and affiliated to College of Medicine, University of Uyo, confirmed that the medical workers were on a nationwide strike based on a directive from the national body of the union.
Peters said the national body had directed the local branch to hold a congress in which members of the union in the hospital had held a congress Wednesday, assuring that the workers would resume duty Thursday.