Strike: We are losing those with underlying health conditions

Long queues of patients at a Federal Health Institution (FHI) in Nigeria

Persons living with diabetes in Nigeria complained on Tuesday of the effect of the nationwide indefinite strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress.
The strike, which began at midnight on Monday June 3, over a new minimum wage, has been total as offices, schools, airports and fuel stations have all been shut down in states across the country, while hospitals only offer skeletal services.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar, Mr Bernard Enyia, National Coordinator, Persons Living with Diabetes in Nigeria, said the strike may appear legitimate, but those living with underlying health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases, among others, were the ones bearing the brunt.
Enyia said the implication was that they could no longer access essential health care services, making them breakdown with serious complications, risking avoidable deaths.

He said Nigeria, as a sovereign nation, had come of age and should not be resolving issues of wages through strikes.

“Each time we hear of a strike, it sends shock waves through our spines because strikes are like weapons of mass destruction to us with underlying health conditions, and people with health emergencies, as we are left to our fate.
“We are angry with the NLC and the Federal Government because the damage they are doing to those of us with underlying health conditions is terrible, so, we appeal that the strike be called off immediately.

“Instead of strikes, both parties should continue in negotiations until they reach a balance because the action is endangering our lives, as we can’t access care,” he said.

Enyia added that whenever strikes were called off, families who suffered the loss of loved ones were not compensated by the federal government nor the labour unions.

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