It’s just not the best of health times for government. Many now have to go on bended knees to call upon God for help. The country has recorded a total of 2,719 cases of cholera. 51 are dead. And yellow fever has reared its ugly head in Kwara State.
To worsen matters and the blackmail, health workers, except doctors, have declared a total strike action and downed tools in public hospitals, as Labour Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, jumps from negotiation table to the other quenching strike fires in different sectors.
Many await chief government spokesman, Lai Mohammed, to point accusing fingers in every conceivable direction of opponents.
Unable to bear the high and hard cost of private hospitals, others have turned to unregulated use herbal remedies, which effects are leading to damaged internal organs, according to experts.
Every administration for the past three decades has battled the circle of back to back strikes, even as N700 billion is spent annually on workers.
In Ilorin, Kwara State, the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) ordered members out of federal public hospital wards Wednesday over government’s lackadaisical attitude to welfare issues, and, basically, monetary demands.
Said the officials at a press conference, “This lackadaisical attitude of the government has necessitated the resolve of JOHESU to call out all our members nationwide to withdraw their services and stay at home with effect from midnight of today (Wednesday) even after waiting patiently till this hour on the approval for adjustments of CONHESS.
“We once again appeal to FG to tow the oath of honour and implement all agreements, memorandum of understanding, and courts judgments, while we urge our members at the tertiary health level to make the strike total and comprehensive.
“In the event that no appreciable response is received from the government within 15 days of commencement of the strike by the federal tertiary health institutions, all our members in the states, and local governments nationwide are directed to join the action by September 28.”
As the the JOHESU and NANNM were calling members out of federally owned hospitals, Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole was telling journalist at the State House, Abuja, the state of health in the country.
Said he: “(The Federal Executive) Council received the weekly report on the state of public health in Nigeria and we did inform council about four major outbreaks that we are currently tracking.
“One is Lassa Fever and we are quite happy that there is a major decline in a number of reported cases; we have also not reported any deaths in the last two weeks but we still have two cases reported from Edo last week.
“We still have cholera in some parts of the country, particularly in Kano, Kebbi, Borno and Zamfara but the outbreak in Borno state is the most significant of all of them.
“So far since the outbreak started we have recorded 2,719 suspected cases of cholera and we reported 51 deaths in total.
“We have started cholera vaccination in Borno state as a way of stemming the tide.’’
“We are quite confident that if we can sustain this in the next two years Nigeria will be certified Polio free and I am also certain that that would imply that Africa would also be certified Polio-free…
“Over the year we have spent 80 per cent of our budget on curative services and that is not really what we are supposed to do….
“We really need to move in the direction of prevention services and when you look at our budget we are moving more of our budget to preventive care, more money to immunization.
“Because when you immunize our children they will not develop measles, cholera or the things that will make them to die….
“We are starting with six states that have the worst levels of maternal mortality.
“We are starting with Jigawa, Zamfara, Kano Katsina, Kebbi and Yobe and we want to crash maternal mortality in those states..”