A Non Governmental Organization, the Restoration Of The Dignity Of Womanhood ( ROTDOW), has made a passionate plea to the government to intervene in agitations of health workers so as to avoid strike actions that has far reaching implication in achieving universal health coverage and sustainable development goals for the nation.
The call was made today by a civil society and human rights advocate, Mrs. Olabisi Omolana, CEO, ROTDOW, as Nigerians join to mark this year’s celebration of World Health Day.
Mrs. Omolona who said the leadership in the health sector, government and relevant stakeholders need to urgently tackle this menace of health workers strike so as to avert the loss of precious lives which further worsens Nigeria’s health indices said for too long, it had become an unending recurring phenomenon in the country.
“This downtool of services by the health workers is usually seen as the last weapon in the arsenal of the health workers as it is generally believed that it is the only negotiation tool that is reckoned with by health leadership or government. The reason for these ‘strikes’ is premised on poor medical infrastructure, lack of working/protective tools, unsafe hospital environment, poor remuneration, poor welfare package, poor healthcare leadership and management, inter-professional disputes among others”, she added saying Health workers strike makes the vulnerable unable to access government hospitals that are fairly affordable and as well puts them at the mercy of less qualified health practitioners who offer health care that is far below standard and sometimes detrimental to their health.
Mrs. Omolona while highlighting some of the impact of medical strikes to include fragmented health care system, lack of viable alternative means of obtaining healthcare and poor socio economic circumstances said Nigeria as a country with an estimated population of about 180 million has an almost non-existent health insurance scheme with less than 5% national coverage.
Industrial action makes the vulnerable patronize chemist shops without a diagnosis, thus endangering their lives due to wrong diagnosis and consequently wrong drug prescription. Children and pregnant women may die from preventable illnesses due to inability to afford quality care at private hospitals or getting treated for their health condition by less qualified or unqualified individuals.
This makes majority of people pay out-of-pocket in a country where most people live on 2 dollars per day. A national health strike thus puts the vulnerable who is at the lowest rung of economic ladder to feel the impact of the strike the most”, she further stressed.