COVID-19: Kogi FMC doctors embark on strike over ‘threat to lives’

Doctors at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, Kogi state, have embarked on an indefinite strike.

Rising from a meeting on Wednesday, the doctors said their lives were being threatened because of the state’s “poor” management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They said they are “totally withdrawing services across board” pending when their grievances are met.

A communique announcing the strike, a copy of which was sent to TheCable, was signed by seven health workers’ associations.

The heads of the association met hours after gunmen broke into the hospital, attacking doctors and other health workers.

Some of those who signed the communique are Nnana Agwu, chairman, Association of Resident Doctors (NARD); Samuel Obajemu, chairman, Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU); Abdulmalik Idris, chairman, National Association of Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and John Omoche, chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN).

Armed men had stormed the hospital on Wednesday morning, vandalising properties and carting away valuables.

The union leaders condemned the attack, saying some equipment such as infrared thermometers, laptops, ATM cards, car keys and two motorcycles, “which are vital in providing care,” were carted away.

They said they may not resume duty until there is adequate security of lives and properties.

Other conditions they gave before returning to work include: validation of COVID-19 status of some staff of the hospital that have been in isolation, provision of COVID-19 testing facilities (PCR machines) and maximum of 20 patients being attended to daily.

Meanwhile, the state police command says it has launched a manhunt for the gunmen that attacked the hospital.

Ede Ayuba, the state commissioner of police, who gave the order when he visited the facility, said the perpetrators will not go unpunished.

He assured the health workers and staff of the hospital of the readiness of the police to guarantee the safety of their lives and property.

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