Strike: NMA Seeks Urgent Resolution of Workers’ Concerns

3rd May 2024

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged the federal government to swiftly address workers’ concerns and end the on-going nationwide strike as healthcare services in some Lagos hospitals were significantly impacted on Monday.

The Chairman of the NMA Lagos zone, Dr. Babajide Saheed, who made the plea in Lagos, said the association was in solidarity with the on-going nationwide strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, over minimum wage concerns.

Saheed, who stressed the importance of a living wage for all Nigerian workers lamented the negative impact of the nation’s economic hardship on public health.

“The hardship caused by the ill-motivated and anti-masses policy of the government is affecting everyone, including medical doctors.

“The sudden removal of fuel subsidies, the monetary policy of foreign exchange that’s not working, the increasing inflation that’s affecting prices of food, drugs, medical equipment, and all other items are major concerns,” he remarked.

Regretting the persistence of the brain drain, Saheed noted: “The number of doctors leaving the country is even increasing as doctors find it difficult to feed themselves three square meals.

“Many patients have diet-related diseases which can be corrected with healthy meals, but how many Nigerians can afford healthy food.”

Saheed further urged the government to engage labour leaders in immediate negotiations, emphasizing the need for a “befitting living wage” that reflected current economic realities and improved citizens’ quality of life.

He also highlighted the plight of patients and citizens most affected by strikes and stressed the importance of a swift and amicable resolution to minimise disruptions to healthcare services.

Limited services at LASUTH, Mainland Hospital

Meanwhile, there were limited activities at some hospitals in Lagos as only skeletal services were on at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Mainland Hospital, Yaba.

A Union member in LASUTH said that their members at the health institution were following the national directive to hold a congress and initiate the strike action, stating that only emergency services would be available during the strike.

Checks at the hospital revealed limited operations with only the medical and surgical emergency departments being functional, attending to critical cases.

Patients and their families who faced disruptions were trying to transfer their loved ones to private facilities.

There was little sign of activity at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, as NLC members enforced the strike, and locked and guarded the main gate, preventing normal operations.