BusinessDay

COVID -19: Health workers strike too costly at this time- FG

The Federal government on Thursday said strike by members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), has been costly in terms of human lives, which he said “can be avoided”

Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Boss Mustapha, while speaking at the national briefing at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Thursday, appealed to members of the JOHESU to have a rethink, adding that “ the nation can ill-afford any further disruption to its health systems.

The briefing is coming as the PTF on COVID-19 which was inaugurated on the 17th of March ended the first six months of its mandate.

He assured that government is tackling issues around the strike which entered its 4th day on Thursday, adding that “ government shall continue to do its best to push through the negotiations with the unions and hopefully, reason shall prevail”

“ The on-going strike has been very costly in terms of human lives but such losses can be avoided. Government shall continue to do its best to push through the negotiations with the unions and hopefully, reason shall prevail.

“ let me once again send a strong appeal to all health workers particularly, JOHESU members”

The PTF in its assessment of Nigeria’s COVID -19 case, said Nigeria has carried out a total of 482,321 samples tests giving a positivity rate of 11.7%, while 47,872 persons have been treated and discharged, but we have sadly lost 1091 persons to the disease.

He announced that the PTF is working to lower the case fatality rate to less than 1%,

The PTF however lamented that it was facing additional challenge as most fatalities are among those reporting late for treatment, when their clinical condition has worsened.

“The delay in deciding whether or when to go for treatment is what we must fight. I therefore renew my plea to all those who test positive, are 60 years or older and have underlying health conditions, to report immediately to a treatment facility.

“ Other persons cleared for, or performing self Isolation should report to a treatment center without delay if they notice any covid19 evocative symptoms like high fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, and especially breathlessness. There is no shortage of beds reported from any of the States.

Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, in his remarks, announced that the Federal Ministry of Health shall be distributing oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions, to be able to provide oxygen therapy to persons with respiratory distress, in order to improve chances of survival.

The Minister said federal government will be working with state government officials to sustain sample collections and response activities, with emphasis on surveillance and treatment, in order to drive containment.

Ehanire reminded that COVID-19 is real adding that “some countries are experiencing the so-called second wave of the virus.”

“This is something Nigeria must endeavour to avoid. Compliance with all recommended measures, like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings etc. will go a long way to help”, he said.

Ehanire however reiterated calls on members of Joint Health Sector Union to put the plight, safety and wellbeing of their patients into consideration, and to call off the ongoing strike, while differences are being addressed by negotiation.

 

Tony Ailemen, Godsgift Onyedinefu, Abuja