The Akwa Ibom government has warned Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) workers that they would give an account of any life lost during the period of their strike.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, issued the warning while fielding questions from newsmen in Uyo on Thursday.
Ukpong said health workers in the state had no genuine reason to go on strike as the state government had paid all expected salaries and allowances due to them.
He directed all matrons, chief nursing officers, senior nurses and all heads of departments to take charge of patients in the hospitals across the state to avoid further loss of lives to the strike.
The commissioner advised that the health workers should not always go on strike for their own benefits alone but should also think of improved infrastructure in the health sector.
“Every time health workers go on strike it takes a lot of lives. Matrons, chief nursing officers, senior nurses, heads of laboratories and other heads of departments do not go on strike."
“If you go on strike and life is lost you will be held liable. There must be people in the hospital to save lives of people,” Ukpong said.
He disclosed that the state government had acquired five ambulance buses as part of measures put in place to take care of emergency cases in the state.
The commissioner urged residents of the state people to avail themselves of the ambulance service in case of emergency situations.
He, however, said that while the ambulance services could be access free, the treatment when taken to hospital would not be free.
On Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the commissioner advised health workers to have high degree suspicion index on every patient especially those outside the country to avoid falling victims.
Ukpong appealed to citizens to take their personal hygiene very serious, wash their hands regularly and avoid eating bushmeat for now.
JOHESU strike had entered its fifth week while Akwa Ibom joined the strike on May 18.