Nurses withdraw services at Plateau isolation centre

Kim Musa Ndoh, Jos

Nurses at one of the isolation Centres for COVID-19 in Plateau State, the Jos University Teaching Hospital,  on Monday withdrew their services.

It was learnt that as a result of the development, all the nineteen patients at the isolation centre have been abandoned.

Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, JUTH branch, Mrs. Mercy Lenka, who confirmed the development to our correspondent in Jos on Monday blamed the government for their action stating that they were constrained to withdraw their services at the isolation centre in order to save the lives of their members and others from being infected with the disease.

Lenka said, “Yes, we have asked our members to withdraw their services at the JUTH isolation center. Ideally, when you are involved in the treatment of confirmed cases of COVID-19, you are not supposed to go back home and mingle with your family members or anyone else.

“You are supposed to go to a hotel or any other accommodation that the management, the state or federal government would have made provision for. You go there and stay while doing your work. When you are done, you are expected to stay back for two weeks and samples would be taken which must be confirmed negative before you will be allowed to go back to your family members.

“This has never been provided for our members in JUTH. Besides, nobody has given any stipend, incentive, or hazard allowance to the nurses who have been risking their lives while treating the patients. Already, one of the nurses tested positive for the diseases about two days ago, and yet, they did not see the need to attend to our demands because they still allow the nurses to go back home after work.

“We have done everything to get the attention of the government in addressing these issues without success.  Considering the danger this practice poses to the lives of the nurses, their families, and other individuals, we decided to ask them to withdraw their services until these issues are addressed.”

But the State Government, in a reaction condemned the action of the nurses.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Ninkong Lar Ndam, said that the concerns raised by the nurses were being addressed by the government and wondered why they would still go ahead to withdraw their services.

The Commissioner said, “Why would you leave somebody that is very sick as a nurse. If they have issues, they would have discussed it with us. There was no much negotiation and they went ahead to withdraw their services because as a government, we have not neglected anybody in Plateau State in addressing the COVID-19 challenge.

“As a matter of fact, we have been working very hard to ensure that we provide them with accommodation which they complained about. In fact, over the weekend, we got accommodation for them at the NDLEA camp near Rikkos but we have to decontaminate the place and make the necessary repairs before they can move in and we are hoping that by tomorrow, it should be ready for use. Meanwhile, we have mobilized doctors to the isolation centre to see how we will continue to attend to the patients.”