By Stephen Adeleye
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Kogi chapter, has called on the Federal Government, through its various organs, to urgently address the demands of the Joint Action Congress (JAC) of Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Lokoja, to save the state’s health sector from collapsing.
A statement by the state’s Chairman of NMA, Dr Kabiru Zubair, on Wednesday in Lokoja, also enjoined the FG to intervene and resolve the issues between the Kogi Government and NCDC to enable mutual peace in the management of COVID-19 in the State.
It would be recalled that JAC FMC Lokoja, comprising all various Unions and Professional Associations, including Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and others, had on July 1, embarked on Industrial Action, after the hospital was invaded by hoodlums.
The JAC embarked on the indefinite strike citing threat to their life amongst others.
”It is now one week since 1st of July, 2020 when FMC Lokoja, was closed down following its invasion by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums, who breeched the hospital security and destroyed property and essential materials, and went away with some.
”NMA is calling on the FG and State Government to take decisive steps in bringing the perpetrators of the hospital invasion to justice, ensuring adequate security for the staff of the hospital, and providing NCDC certified testing facility within the Centre, while making available adequate PPEs.
”Since this unfortunate incidence in the only Federal Tertiary Hospital in the State, which caters for most of the complicated medical conditions, the Joint Action Congress (JAC) of the hospital, have been on Industrial Action, citing threat to life amongst others.
”Prior to this incidence, the JAC of the hospital 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 the management of the COVID-19 infection in the State which bothers mainly on transparency in the testing process, lack of testing in most instances, provision of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) and lack of proper Isolation and treatment of suspected cases in the Centre as well as delay or outright failed response from the State management team.
”These concerns are even further heightened as staffers 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 in keeping with the infection.
”The hospital had lost staff and relatives of its staff with symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 that tests were never done to confirm their status during the past weeks.
”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 round table discussion in a bid to identify possible lapses and reach an acceptable way forward.
He urged the Federal Government, through its various organs, to address the concerns of the FMC JAC and take decisive steps in bringing the perpetrators of the hospital invasion to justice.
He further called on the federal and state government to ensure adequate security for the staff of the hospital, and providing NCDC certified testing facility within the Centre, while making available adequate PPEs.
”It is also critical at this point that the FG intervene to resolve the issues between the State Government and NCDC so that there will be mutual peace in the management of COVID-19 in the State.
”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.