There’s little visible progress in the doctors’ strike in Nigeria, and now separate organizations of health care workers have threatened to join them if government officials fail to meet with them this week.
The Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) issued a seven-day warning on Wednesday that its members will go on strike on September 20.
“You will recall that the issues are not new and meetings upon meetings were held without any fruitful or meaningful outcome,” the organizations said in a statement signed by the national presidents of affiliated health worker unions. “In view of the obvious lack of commitment of the Government to the lingering demands, the patience of our members has been overtaxed.”
The groups say their membership accounts for some 95 percent of health professionals working in the country, including pharmacists, lab technicians and other related service providers. Their message is similar to a seven-day warning strike called last year, and they vow to continue beyond a week if their concerns over pay and working conditions continue to be ignored.
The new threat to Nigeria’s health care system comes as the doctors, also on strike, failed to come to an agreement during a lengthy overnight meeting. Executives with the National Association of Resident Doctors were deadlocked on whether to accept the latest offer from the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian doctors have been on strike since September 4, despite many appeals for them to continue working. Among their demands is back pay that was supposed to be made up by Friday, according to Minister of Health Isaac Adewole. The doctors were expected to return to work once it was received, but almost all of the national system’s doctors say that hasn’t happened.