Thousands of mothers across Ogun State, particularly those in rural settings, are groaning over their inability to access Local Governments and State healthcare centres for routine immunization of their babies following the industrial strike embarked upon by organised labour in the state.
The immunization is usually handled at the Local Government health facilities but all of them were locked since the strike which began last October 20, entered its 12th day yesterday with both the striking workers and state government unwilling to yield any ground.
The Nation observed that nurses who handle the immunization programme abandoned their duty post in even as the healthcentres were also kept under lock and key in compliance with the organised labour’s directive that civil servants in the state should down tools.
At the Family Health Clinic, Oke – Ilewo, of the Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State, mothers who brought their children for immunization against measle and other chikdhood diseases returned home in frustrations – the door was locked.
Mrs Adeyinka Ronke told The Nation that she had brought her six months old baby to collect vitamin A drop and also take measle immunization, but lamented that there was no one to attend to her and other women who brought their kids too.
Many of the said they were ignorant of the fact that the nurses were also part of the striking workers, lamentiing that they would have to pay tripple to obtain the immunization from private clinics, that is, if they have the vacines.
But reacting, the Permanent Secretary, the State’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Nafiu Aigoro, though the Local Governments healthcare facilities handle the routine immunization but said in the prevailing circumstance, people can approach state hospitals and Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital(OOUTH), Sagamu, and Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, and have their babies immunized.
Aigoro who spoke with The Nation on phone, also adviced mothers to visit private Hospitals such Babcock University Hospital, Ilisan, for vaccination since they private health centres do collect vaccines the state’s Cold store.
It should be noted that the organised labour comprising Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) through their state leaders – Olubunmi Fajobi(TUC), Akeem Ambali(NLC) and Abiodun Olakanmi(JNC), said the strike was instigated by state gocernment’s “breach of agreement” with the Labour.
They accused the government of not paying Global Workers deductions for one year, forceful seizure of Union dues ostensibly to cripple unionism in the state, failure to pay 16 months salary to workers of Tai Solarin College of Education,Omu Ijebu, and Scrapping of Local Govt Joint Account Allocation Committee.
The organised labour also accused the state government of not releasing of the 2015 – 2016 concluded Promotion Exercise in Core Civil Service, non – payment of unpaid Gratuity to Retirees since November 2012 and deduction of 72 months Contributory Pension without remitting same to Pension Fund Administrator despite robust revenue profile of Ogun state.