By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
As the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) intensifies, medical doctors at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Katsina have converted some of their colleagues to provide services hitherto rendered by JOHESU members.
This development, according to the medical doctors, is to ensure sustainability of healthcare services at the centre despite the strike.
This is even as the hospital has engaged the services of some temporary staff â€Žto support the doctors to run the several clinics operated at the hospital.
When THISDAY visited the hospital on Wednesday, the doctors were seen manning the registry, labs and injection stations and attending to patients on ground.
Reacting to the development, the Medical Director of FMC, Katsina, Dr. Suleiman Bello Mohammed, said despite the strike, the hospital is striving to provide services to patients.
He said: â€œIt may not be 100 per cent but at least the succour it will give to the patients is enormous.â€
Dr. Mohammed said health service is a team work but in a situation where such working together can’t be found, the doctors have to compromise by doing other jobs just to continue to save lives.
â€œWe don’t have problem with JOHESU, we have to work together but in a condition where such is not feasible like now during such strikes our junior doctors have taken up to fill the gaps created by the striking workers.
â€œWhen such strikes happen, it’s the common poor man that suffers the brunt. We are trying to maintain services no matter how it is,â€ he said.
He expressed concern over the situation as it was causing untold hardship to many people in the country, stressing that government and the union would resolve the problem within the shortest possible time.
However, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Muhammed Suleiman, has described the demands of JOHESU as â€œunrealisticâ€.
â€œNo where in the world will a doctorâ€™s salary be at par with cleaners, nurses and others providing services at hospitals,â€ he added.
The state NMA chairman said the stepdown services by the doctors was not easy but challenging, stressing that: â€œWe are doing this for humanity and especially the poor people.â€
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, all efforts made by THISDAY to reach the leadership of JOHESU in the state for comments proved abortive.