Palpable fear has gripped COVID-19 patients at the Central Hospital treatment centre, Warri, Delta State following threats by the front line health workers to down tools over alleged constant harassment by management of hotels where they are lodged.
The front line care givers are peeved that the state government was reneging on the agreement reached with the hotels on their accommodation and feeding.
On Tuesday morning, some health workers including three doctors, two nurses and one health assistant,were held hostage at a popular hotel in Warri owing to unpaid debts.
It was learnt that Tuesday’s embarrassing incident was the second as another had previously held the workers before government was said to have made part payment of the total debt.
As at the time of writing this report, the health workers were still being held at the hotel premises, a development that is already taking a huge toll on COVID-19 patients due for discharge as they are still being held at the treatment centre.
Besides, care givers who ran night shift are now over stretched as those to relief them by morning have been held down at the hotel.
They are threatening to down tools unless the state government take urgent steps to rectify the situation and honour the agreement with the hotel management.
“We are having issues here at the Central Hospital treatment centre in Warri. The front line health workers who are supposed to resume this morning are being held hostage at the hotel because government is owing bills for accommodation.
“This is the second time this thing is happening. It had happened at Isiaka Hotel where some of the front line COVID-19 health workers at the Warri treatment centre were lodged. The government paid part of the money, and at the moment they are still owing that hotel.
“So there was an agreement between these hotels and the state government but it appears the government is no longer fulfilling its own part of the deal,” a source confided in this medium.
According to the source, the health workers are also pained by the delay in the payment of their allowance, alleging that the government was only deceiving the public by “trumpeting that front line health workers during this COVID-19 were being paid.”
The source added that the health workers are now fuming with anger, and that they are ready to withdraw their services from the Warri treatment centre by Wednesday morning if government does not address the issues once and for all.
Efforts to reach the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye for his reaction proved abortive as calls to his mobile phone rang out unanswered.