Bayelsa residents lament doctors’ strike

The association has put in place a mechanism to monitor the compliance of its members.


The patients who tried to access health care services at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, and other public hospitals in Yenagoa on Tuesday lamented the impact of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, strike.

The NMA embarked on a nationwide strike over disagreements with the government on the running of the health sector as well as other labour issues.

The Bayelsa State Chairman of NMA, James Omietimi, confirmed on Monday that doctors at the Federal Medical Centre and the Bayelsa State government owned hospitals have downed tools.

He said that the association had put in place a mechanism to monitor the compliance of its members with the strike.

According to him, the monitoring team was scheduled to meet in the evening to review the success of the strike action and the strategy adopted.

The out patients services have been the worst hit by the strike in most of the hospitals. At the hospitals visited by PREMIUM TIMES, hundreds of patients were dismissed at the General Out Patients Departments, where few consultants rendered skeletal services, while the patients gathered in groups discussing the strike outside the waiting hall.

Some of the patients lamented the negative effect of the strike, saying it was taking a toll on public health as patients were bearing the brunt of it.

“It has been very painful waiting endlessly for several hours to see just two consultants on duty here, remember some of the cases are chronic and cannot wait.,” James Ekio, a patient, said.

“It is regrettable that government is so insensitive to allow this strike to degenerate to this level, it should be noted that they had gone on warning strike in January which is more than six months ago.

“The people suffering are the poor masses who cannot afford medical service at private hospitals, see the crowd here waiting, those who can afford i t have gone to private clinics,” Mr. Ekio said.

Sylvia Douglas, who was seen leaving the hospital, said she resolved to go to a private clinic to treat her baby when she heard that doctors were going on strike.

“I used to go to Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital in Okolobiri but on hearing that there is strike I changed my mind to take my daughter to a private clinic,” she said.

Another Patient, Johnson Tari, urged the government to save millions of Nigerians who can neither afford foreign medical trips nor private clinics.

“For those of them in government, they can always travel abroad for medicare but what about the majority of the impoverished people? There is God ooo,” Mr. Tari said‎.

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