Chief Medical Director of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State, Prof. Anthony Igwegbe on Thursday appealled to the striking Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) members to return to work to save lives.
He regretted that the strike had crippled activities at the health institution, explosing patients to unecessary danger.
Speaking to reporters in Nnewi, the CMD expressed doctors readiness to carry out their duties, but said they needed complementary services of other health workers to ensure wholistic services were rendered to patients.
He explained that some of the patients whose cases could not be handled by the available doctors were referred to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka or elsewhere for medical attention.
He said, “The strike has impacted negatively on us since it started on Monday. The JOHESU members are very determined this time than ever before to press home their demands.
“We beg JOHESU members to return to their duty posts while negotiations continue. Wages can never be satisfactory all over the world and human wants are insatiable. No matter what you earn, it can never be enough.”
While disclosing that no casualty had so far been recorded at the hospital due to the strike, Igwegbe however noted that the hospital was not in a hurry to hire help from outside, unless permitted by Abuja.
The CMD was however optimistic of government soon resolve on the matter.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the NAUTH chapter of JOHESU, Mr Ikenna Anahalu and the Secretary, Charles Nwoye had in a statement explained that despite the agreement reached with federal government, that only some members of the union were paid 10 percent of Covid-19 harzard allowance instead of the agreed 50 percent while many were not paid anything at all.
The union leaders said there were preferential treatment in the handling of issues that affected the workers’ well-being. They vowed that they would rather go to prison than return to their duty posts until government paid every Kobo owed them.
They insisted that federal government must release funds to pay the arrears of differentials for 2015, 2016 and 2017 promotion allowances to their members. They complained that the payment of April and May 2018 were still withheld and said that government had to pay up.
“Appointment of deputy chairman, medical advisory committee has continued to elude us. We ask that you impress on the NAUTH management to make such an appointment from among other health professionals other than medical and dental practitioners.
“The ADR of National Industrial Court of Arbitration rules that Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) salary scale should be adjusted in line with memorandum of understanding signed with the federal government. But to our chagrin the federal ministry of health is yet to implement the directives,” it said.
The union also demanded appointment of consultants and payment of specialist allowance to other health professionals. The members said this had been granted to them in the “ADR, but we are yet to be appointed.”