Health and medical-related activities were on Thursday paralyzed at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA), following the nationwide seven-day warning strike embarked upon by the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who monitored the situation at the hospital, reports that patients in the hospital wards were left unattended to.
Affiliate unions of JOHESU involved in the strike are Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM).
Others are Non-Academic Staff Union (NASI) and the Senior Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Research Institutes (SSAUTHRIA).
In an interview with NAN, Mr. Obiefuna Okeke, the JOHESU Chairman, FETHA, said that the branch heeded to the directive of the national secretariat of the union to commence a seven-day nationwide warning strike.
He said that the warning strike was meant to compel the Federal Government to implement decisions reached with the union.
Okeke expressed the branch’ s support to the national leadership over the ongoing agitation for enhanced working condition.
He said: “We in JOHESU, FETHA, wish to express our unalloyed support and solidarity with our national leadership in the ongoing struggle to better the condition of service of our members.
” We shall stand by them and will resist every intimidation by the government, its agents or privy, until the union’s demands are met by government.
He listed the issues in contention to include refusal of the Federal Government to issue circular adjusting the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) of health workers, payment of arrears of CONHESS 10 Skipping since 2010.
According to him, other issues of the agitation are the non-promotion of health workers who were stagnated at Assistant Directors and Deputy Directors and the non-release of circular adjusting the retirement age of health workers to 65 years as obtained in academic and research institutions.
Okeke further stated that the union was demanding the government’s compliance with the rulings of the Industrial Arbitration Panal ( IAP) and the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in favour of Nurses and Medical Laboratory Scientists as well as the implementation of the 2008 Job Evaluation Report.
According to him, other grievances of the union include the non- release of circular for the payment of Specialist Allowance to other health professionals and the restructuring of Teaching Hospital Boards for each health sector union to have representatives.
NAN reports that the JOHESU and resident doctors strikes have paralysed medical and health services at the hospital.
The development has forced relatives of patients on admission in the hospital to relocate their sick ones to private hospitals in Abakaliki and other cities for adequate attention.