Patients are not getting any hope from Nigeria’s public hospitals.
Members of the Joint Health Sector Workers Union (JOHESU) have hardly resumed work after more than 40 days of industrial action when resident doctors put the nation on notice: they said they’re ready to strike unless the federal government reinstated their colleagues sacked from the University of Jos Teaching Hospital.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna on Thursday, Dr Ugochukwu Eze, publicity and social secretary of the Nigerian Association of Resident doctors (NARD), said a 21-day ultimatum issued for the reinstatement of their sacked colleagues expires on May 31.
“At the end of the meeting held on March 27, a 30-day ultimatum was issued starting from April 2, 2018, which elapsed on May 2,” he said. “Twelve days after the expiration of the ultimatum, at the ordinary general meeting held in Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, from 5th-11th May, 2018, the ultimatum was extended by 21 days to allow the government to effect recall of all sacked resident doctors in JUTH.”
Eze said the association had exhausted all labour engagement requirements to help solve the problem in JUTH through extensive advocacy channels.
“It may also interest the general public to know that the members of Joint Health Sector Workers Union (JOHESU) have been on strike for the past 44 days. Health care in the country has been anchored upon the shoulders of resident doctors, mainly NARD, being the largest single body of doctors in Nigeria,” he said.
Eze stated that the doctors also want the government to meet up with all outstanding agreements contained in the September 6, 2017, terms of settlement it entered with the association.
“The September 2017 strike was suspended to allow government complete implementation of the terms of settlement but there are still unmet agreements,” he said. “NARD leadership may not be able to guarantee continuous industrial harmony, should our legitimate agitations be ignored by government.”
JOHESU called off its strike on Wednesday without obtaining any substantial concessions from the federal government. Its members were afraid of being sacked, as some hospitals had started advertising their jobs.
Hardest-hit have been poor Nigerians who cannot afford treatment in private hospitals.