25 Apr

Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

The national strike embarked upon by members of the Joint Health Sector Union last week is taking its toll on medical services at the University College Hospital Ibadan, as relatives of patients receiving treatment at the hospital have begun moving them to private hospitals.

Our correspondent, who visited the facility on Tuesday, observed that the number of patients at the wards has reduced considerably while a few that were still around were those whose conditions do not allow them to be moved.

After the health workers, including nurses, began the strike, many of the patients were discharged by the hospital.

Only the doctors were seen attending to the remaining patients.

The administrative offices, laboratories and all the clinics were shut.

Some of the relatives of the patients that were evacuated from the hospital expressed concern over the situation because of the high cost of treatment at private hospitals and the capability of their staff.

Ajao Adetunji, whose father had spent six weeks at UCH, said the patient was too weak but had to be moved.

He said, “We have been asked to go home but my father is very sick and cannot move. We had to wait for him to get a little strength; that is why we waited till today (Tuesday) before moving him. He spent six weeks at UCH, getting treatment for kidney problem. We have to go to a private hospital now but my fear is the cost.

“Because of the nature of his ailment, we have been advised to go to a private hospital in Lagos but when we made enquiry about what it will cost to treat him, we were shocked at the figure. We have contacted a hospital in Ibadan and that is where we are taking him to.”

The Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Deji Bobade, said he was also locked out of his office.

He noted that the strike affected every department in the institution, saying that the UCH Medical Director, Prof. Temitope Alonge, had already travelled to Abuja on the issue.

Bobade said, “The strike is really taking its toll on the hospital and the management. As you can see, only the doctors are on skeletal duty because nurses who are to assist them are on strike. We only have some senior nurses on ground dressed in mufti to carry out some essential duties. The laboratories are shut. Even our administrative offices are shut, including my office.”

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Source: Punch