INVESTIGATION: Ailing six-month old baby, others rejected at Abuja hospital as doctors’ strike lingers


By Idris Ibrahim and Chimezie Godfrey

Mr. and Mrs Micheal Sunday were distraught after visiting Wuse General Hospital with their ailing six-month old baby and were rejected due to the ongoing resident doctor’s strike.

“They are still on strike and they did not attend to us. They said we should come back next time . Our previous visit to the hospital, they did not attend to us and today again they still said we should go and come back next time,” Mr. Micheal told Newsdiaryonline reporters.

According to the couple, this was the second time the hospital had refused to attend to them, just as their facial expressions distinctly portrayed the anger, disappointment and frustration they felt. They further revealed that the hospital did not give them any specific date to come back.

Skeletal services as doctors’ strike lingers

Newsdiaryonline findings revealed that general hospitals across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) metropolis only admit patients that are in critical conditions.

A visit to Nyanya General Hospital by our reporters revealed that the infirmary only admits patients who are in critical condition while they reject several patients due to shortage of medical personnel.

It was gathered that only senior doctors have been on duty since the commencement of the strike.

However, a nurse who preferred to speak under the condition of anonymity, disclosed to this newspaper that since the commencement of the resident doctors’ strike, they have been rendering skeletal services with a handful of senior doctors on duty.

The nurse further disclosed that the hospital does not admit patients except those with emergency cases.

“We have been operating since the strike started but it is only the senior doctors that are on duty. We attend to people but is only about 20 patients per day, and also we don’t admit patients except for emergency cases.

“You can see that we don’t have people around, we don’t even have people in the wards apart from the emergency ward and few in the labour ward,” she said.

A senior medical personnel of the hospital who equally did not want her name to be mentioned confirmed that it was they (senior doctors) that were available just to render medical services to patients.

She lamented that the few of them who were available have been overwhelmed by the workload while expressing her desire for the issues between the resident doctors and federal government be resolved to enable them return to their respective duty posts.

Fears over COVID-19 vaccination,immunization at same venue

Unlike Nyanya General Hospital, Wuse General Hospital was busier as Covid-19 vaccination and immunization were going on without any hinderance.

Mrs Gladys Okomah who went for her son’s immunization said they were attended to but lamented the fact that the immunization was taking place in the same place where people were being vaccinated for Covid-19.

She expressed concern over people’s safety. She had already complained to the health workers about this concern, and more so she complained that the place was crowdy.

“They attended to us but it is just immunization. However my complaint is that why should they be doing immunization in the same place were they are vaccinating people against COVID-19. This thing can be very dangerous, and they can make mistakes because they are human beings, what if they mistakenly give vaccine in place of immunization? I am not happy about this and that is what I have been complaining to the health workers there, and also there is crowd there,” she angrily complained.

Speaking with Newsdiaryonline reporter, one of the medical personnel carrying out the vaccination who does not want his name to be mentioned said that there was no ‘risk’ conducting the COVID-19 vaccination and immunization in the same place and refused to respond to further query.

The Strike

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on a nationwide strike in August 2 over unpaid salaries, poor benefits and other sundry issues.

The ongoing nationwide strike is raising concerns as Africa’s most populous nation is faced with third wave of Coronavirus pandemic worsened by the deadly delta variant while other ailing patients are battling for survival across government hospitals due to shortage of doctors.

In his reaction, Jerry Isogun, NARD Secretary-General in a telephone interview with Newsdiaryonline Wednesday said the federal government made the nationwide strike lingered to this point.

Mr. Isogun blamed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige for handling the matter with laxity.

“The strike wasn’t supposed to have lingered to this point if he (Mr. Ngige) did what he needed to have done; calling the aggrieved members, citizens of the country together and addressing their issues.

“First of all, he boasted that he was not going to meet with us. Having done that, the strike continued so he went to court,” Mr. Isogun said.

“If only he can drop his ego and do the right thing, this strike will be suspended. So, he has lost that opportunity,” he added.

The federal government had over the weekend promised to withdraw the case it instituted against NARD if they go back to their duty post.

The lingering question is: who will blink first?