Some business operators at the Abuja University Teaching Hospital (AUTH), have decried the adverse effect of the continued strike by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) on their businesses.
The business owners, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, described the ongoing strike as worrisome, saying it was negatively affecting their business activities.
According to them, economic and social activities in and outside the hospital premises have been paralysed following the continued strike as most shops and business centres are witnessing low patronage.
The unions had on April 17 announced and started a nationwide indefinite strike over non implementation by the Federal Government’s agreement reached with the body.
Since 2014, the health unions have been asking government to increase their pays and improve their members’ working conditions among other demands.
Mrs Farida Jackson, who owns a restaurant at the hospital gate, lamented the situation, saying that her shop lacked patronage since the commencement of the strike.
“The ongoing strike is regrettable, you know when the hospital is not operating our businesses are bound to suffer because only few people patronise us.
“We still open our shops, since there are doctors who operate on skeletal services for some patients coming for medical services.
“We pray that the efforts of government to solve the problems with the health unions will yield tangible results so that we can fully return to business,” she said.
Mr Musa Yusuf, who operates a business centre, lamented the drop in economic activities, adding that since the strike started business had dropped considerably.
“The Federal Government should take into consideration the plight of Nigerians and find a lasting solution to the problem.
“I plead with the union to also call off the strike and give room for dialogue in the interest of the people.”
Mrs Ada Basi, owner of a relaxation spot said, “business was thriving until the strike started and most of us have invested here due to the population.’’
“The health sector is one particular area that should receive prompt and adequate response because when the people are healthy, it will reflect on the nation’s economy.”
Mr Musa Ladan, a motorcycle operator at the hospital appealed to the union officials to call off the strike in the interest of the people, adding that the masses always suffered from the consequences of strikes.
Ladan described the union’s actions as worrisome, adding that it would only increase hardships and make their businesses suffer.
“The poor will always bear the burden as they cannot afford access to healthcare in private hospitals.
“Our prayer is that the hospital should resume its activities so that our businesses will bounce back, we also urge the stakeholders to resolve these issues,” he pleaded.
The situation is even worse for pregnant women and nursing mothers in dire need of either post or ante-care because nurses and midwives have all downed tools.
However, some doctors in the hospital were seen attending to only patients with critical issues without folders, especially at the NHIS section.
Some patients, who spoke with NAN in the hospital appealed to the Federal Government to urgently look into the demands of the workers to ease the suffering of Nigerians.
They described the unions’ action as worrisome and that it would only increase hardship for the masses.
The union is made up of five bodies in the health sector namely- Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM).
Others are Non-Academic Staff Union, Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), and Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals (SSAUTH).