From Gold Rahman,Lokoja
The Kogi State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has appealed to the Federal Government to urgently rescue the health sector from total collapse.
It further called on the federal government to immediately address the demands of the Joint Action Congress (JAC) of Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Lokoja, where workers have been on strike to press home their demands.
The NMA made its stance known through its Chairman, Dr Kabiru Zubair yesterday in Lokoja, the state capital.
Besides, the NMA urged the Federal Government to resolve the lingering dispute between the Kogi Government and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure proper management of COVID-19 in the state.
The JAC FMC Lokoja, comprising all industrial unions and professional associations, had on July 1, embarked on industrial action, following the invasion of the hospital by suspected hoodlums who carted away some personal and hospital property.
Those currently on strike include Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Association of Resident Doctors, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Joint Health Sector Union.
”NMA is calling on the federal and state governments to take decisive steps in bringing the perpetrators of the hospital invasion to justice.
“Ensure adequate security for staff, and providing NCDC certified testing facility within the hospital, while making adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available.
”Since this unfortunate incident, the only Federal Tertiary Hospital in Kogi, which caters for most complicated medical conditions, the FMC JAC, have been on industrial action, citing threat to life among others.
”Prior to this incident, the unions had earlier planned a peaceful protest within the hospital premises to be held that day which was later shelved.
”The protest was deemed necessary because of the challenges being faced in managing COVID-19 infection in the state, which bothers mainly on transparency in testing process, lack of testing in most instances, provision of PPEs and lack of proper isolation and treatment of suspected cases in the centre, and delay or outright failed response from the state management team.
”These concerns are even further heightened as workers are made to attend and get exposed to highly suspected cases without any testing done to confirm the patients’ status or that of the workers even if they develop symptoms.
”It is therefore obvious that their concerns are absolutely valid and needs to be addressed,” Dr. Zubair said.