As the strike embarked upon by members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) in federal government hospitals enters a critical stage following the show of solidarity by members in state and local government areas, the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Asaba branch of JOHESU has raised the alarm of possible high death rate in the hospital.
JOHESU, at a press briefing in Asaba, revealed that management of the hospital has deployed inexperienced laboratory and pharmacy trainees and corps members to provide services to unsuspecting members of the public while using sheet of papers for patients in place of hospital cards.
Members of JOHESU, led by Comrade Christopher Ikperhe, Secretary, JOHESU, FMC, Asaba, Chapter and Comrade Anthony Iyasele, Chairman of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMSLN), FMC, Asaba Chapter, who stood in for the Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Davidson Akinlays, decried the use of interns and corps members to run the hospital, adding that anybody going to the hospital for any form of treatment was taking a risk as the Heads of Department (HODs) and management and administrative staff do not have the time to supervise interns.
According to them: “It is unsafe to visit the hospital now that we are on strike because patients might receive half or low quality treatment which is inimical to their health. We have told management that using inexperienced persons is wrong,” adding that the interns and corps members were forced to be attending to patients in the name of skeletal services without adequate supervision.
Explaining further, they said that drugs giving to patients cannot be guaranteed as the usual practice known as pharmaco-vigilance – whereby a pharmacy on duty, working in synergy with the doctor on duty, can detect wrong prescription, is absent, adding that the implication is exposure to wrong dosage and possible death.
They also revealed that interns in the laboratory cannot effectively carry out tests and examinations and come up with right results, without good supervision, stressing that FMC, Asaba is a tertiary health facility where you cannot use trainees to conduct test, dispense doctor’s prescription and administer injection.
While condemning the development in the hospital and possible death toll, JOHESU advised management to stop the practice for the sake of the lives of members of the public.
When contacted, the Medical Director of FMC, Asaba, Dr. Victor Osiatuma, he said that medical doctors, management, members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and interns were not on strike, adding that it is not possible that the interns were working without supervision.
According to him, contrary to submission by JOHESU, all the Heads of Department (HODs) are on duty and supervising the interns.