Normal medical and healthcare services have resumed at Kogi state Government-owned hospitals.
This followed the suspension of 74-day old strike by members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the state.
Dr Ahmed Attah, the Special Adviser to the state Governor, Yahaya Bello, on Health Matters expressed his gratitude to God for seeing them through the challenge of the prolonged industrial action by the NMA.
“We thank God that in spite the strike action, the people of Kogi, who are at the receiving end, were able to get services for their health challenges from FMC, Lokoja and private hospitals within the state, but some had to travel outside the state for medical treatment. So, it is a period of reflecting over what has happened, a period to call on everyone to see what is possible to ensure that the people of Kogi are protected,” Attah said.
He noted that the governor had taken healthcare as one of the top priorities of his administration, stressing that the governor has continued to maintain that the life and health of every citizen is very important to him.
The special aide added that the governor was ready to do everything possible within his power to make sure that residents get the best healthcare service.
“So, what has happened is now behind us, the important thing now is for everybody to join hands to work together to ensure that the vision of the governor succeed in the health sector. The health sector is one delicate place that is full of emergencies and His Excellency understands that, and has put us on the field to continue to engage with the doctors until we got the strike suspended. You can see that the doctors have resumed to their duty posts today. We commend the NMA for their consideration. Of course, we are aware there are challenges of arrears and salaries but the governor has not rested in ensuring the full payment of all emoluments of doctors and all other health workers in the state,” Attah said.
Activities at the State Specialist Hospital (KSSH), Lokoja, the state capital, on Thursday confirmed that healthcare activities had returned to the hospital.
Some patients were seen waiting for doctors for consultations at the Outpatient Department of the hospital, including the hospital laboratory and pharmacy.
A patient, Mrs Alimat Abdulrahman, said she was happy that the strike had been suspended, saying she had spent exorbitant amounts on the health of her sick child at a private clinic to no avail.
“I am appealing to the government and doctors to always use dialogue as a tool to resolving industrial disputes. Government at all levels need to do more for health workers to avoid incessant strikes,” Abdulrahman said.
NMA suspended the strike in Kogi state on March 19, and directed its members to resume on March 22, to facilitate further negotiations with the state government.