Nurses and Midwives working at Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki in Ebonyi State have embarked on what they described as No-Uniform-To-Work Protest following alleged non-payment of their two years uniform allowances by the Federal government.
The protest resulted in identity crisis as patients who visited the Hospital for medical attention found it difficult to differentiate Nurses from Patients.
A visit to the Medical Emergency Unit and Surgical Out Patients Clinic in FETHA Two as well as General Out Patients Department FETHA One of the Hospital showed that all nurses and midwives on duty wore casual wears.
One of the Nurses who spoke to newsmen, Comrade Michael Nwanna alleged that the Federal Ministry of Health had in the last two years failed to release their uniform allowances which had left them with no alternative than to appear on casual wear.
A Matron, Mrs Ijeoma Awada appealed to the Federal government to release their allowances as they had been constrained by recession to sew the uniform from their pocket.
She admitted that it was unprofessional to appear on mufti but noted that there was no other way to draw government and management’s attention to the extent to which non- payment of the allowances was exposing them to unnecessary job hazards.
The Acting Chairman, National Association of Nigeria Midwives, in the state, Comrade Jude Arium explained that the protest would last for one month as several meetings with the Hospital Management had failed to achieve the desired result.
Two patients at the Hospital described the development as embarrassing as it amounts to exposing their lives to danger.
“How can nurses be in mufti, you don’t know who is a nurse anymore.”
“You cannot even differentiate the nurses from the patients.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr Emeka Onwe failed as he was said to be attending to an official matter outside the state.