Strike: Kogi NMA urges FG to urgently address demands of FMC Lokoja workers

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Kogi chapter, has appealed to  the Federal Government to urgently address demands of the Joint Action Congress (JAC) of Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Lokoja, to save the state’s health sector from collapsing.

The state’s Chairman of NMA, Dr Kabiru Zubair, in a statement issued on Thursday in Lokoja, also appealed to the Federal Government to resolve the issues between the Kogi Government and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)  to ensure mutual peace in the management of COVID-19 in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that JAC FMC Lokoja, comprising all industrial unions and professional associations, on July 1, embarked on industrial action, after the hospital was invaded by hoodlums who carted away some personal and hospital property.

The JAC members and associations that joined the strike are: Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Association of Resident Doctors, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Joint Health Sector Union, among others.

The striking workers cited threats to their lives.

”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,” Zubair said.
He added that as concerned stakeholders, Kogi NMA had initiated a process to get all their members who are leaders in the management of COVID-19 pandemic in the state, to a roundtable in a bid to identify possible lapses and reach an acceptable way forward.

”The importance of this cannot be overemphasised as continued perceived silence in this matter will continue to have direct consequences on diagnosis, spread, contact tracing, and deaths from the infection.

”Unfortunately, in all these, it is the poor masses that suffer.

”If the current situation is allowed to persist, the disease may eventually get out of control. The time for immediate action cannot be better than now,” Zubair stated. (NAN)