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Benue health workers begin indefinite strike, Thursday

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HEALTH workers in Benue State, North Central part of Nigeria have announced their decision to commence indefinite strike action on Thursday, June 18, 2020.

  The health workers under the auspices of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) and Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) said they will embark on strike after the state government failed to heed a 21-day ultimatum to address the issues. 

  Disclosing this to journalists in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, the Benue State chairman of NAGGMD, Dr Diatah Jame, said their decision was based on unpaid salary arrears to workers.

  “Benue State health workers have resolved to commence indefinite strike action on June 18, over unresolved issues in the state’s health sector. Health workers in the state were owed salary arrears of between five to nine months among other unmet demands.”

  Meanwhile, the federal government has threatened to withdraw licenses of medical doctors who deliberately reject and turn back patients from their hospital without attending to them or offering necessary advice on what to do.

  The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, had earlier described it as unethical and unacceptable; adding that doctors who engage in such unprofessional conduct would be reported to the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council, and if found guilty would have their licenses withdrawn.

   It will be recalled that the minister had raised concern over the rise in fatality rates and cases of COVID-19, saying, “although numbers are only creeping up compared to other countries and case fatality rate hovers around three percent, we are concerned and at high alert.”

  Ehanire advised anyone who is rejected at any hospital or medical facility to write and complain to the board of such hospital, the federal ministry of health, or the state ministry of health in case of state hospitals.

  The minister pointed out that 61 percent of COVID-19 patients in the country were asymptomatic, while 39 percent were symptomatic.

  In another report, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has once again intervened in the planned strike action by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD). Gbajabiamila said the leadership of the House would not fold its arms while resident doctors embark on strike at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

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