Health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) at Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) have disclosed reasons behind their ongoing strike action.
The union which comprises of all health workers in the hospital except doctors, embarked on an indefinite strike last Thursday which has grounded activities at the institution.
Speaking to Benue.com.ng, the President of the Union, Mr Tahav Kershio said the strike became necessary as working conditions in the hospital had deteriorated, making it difficult for them to safely take care of patients.
According to him, the hospital management were adamant to their complaints even after several meetings, promises and warning strikes.
“We are on strike bacause the facilities in the hospital are in a deplorable condition, basic working implements are not there. There is no water. Consumables are not there. You can imagine that nurses are dressing wounds with their bare hands and after the whole procedure, there’s no water to wash their hands. It’s as bad as that.
“The other reason is that we are clamoring for proper placement. Right from the inception of the hospital, some staff were not properly placed. We’ve been on it with the management for a very long time but they’ve been promising and promising. They have done a second round of promotion exercise and placement is still an issue.” he explained.
Mr Kershio added that a promotion examination was carried out in November last year but the results were kept secret. He said the union had to issue an ultimatum before the results were released and even after that, many staff who qualified for promotion were denied for flimsy reasons.
He debunked the notion that their action was financially or politically motivated, saying such insinuations were only aimed at tarnishing the image of the union and deviating attention from the main issues.
He said, “We learnt the governor is aware but the way they have presented the issue before him is not the way we stated it. They are trying to paint us black before the governor. They are trying to present it that we are not grateful to the governor. They are bringing the issue of money, that we want arrears of the promotion and we never mentioned the issue of arrears. This strike is not about money.”
Mr Kershio concluded by pleading with the government to look into their issues and revamp the hospital for the good of the patients.
“We want the governor to come to the aid of that hospital. The hospital is like a diamond to the people of Benue state, we can’t allow it to degenerate into a glorified General Hospital. This hospital is serving alot of people, even from surrounding states like Taraba, Nassarawa, Cross River and Kogi. We want him to help that hospital because patients are suffering.” he said.
This is the second strike action plaguing the hospital within the last one month. Early last month, resident doctors embarked on a warning strike over unpaid allowances.