Strike: FG responsible for health professionals' sufferings - Southeast NUAP Coordinator

Strike: FG responsible for health professionals’ sufferings – Southeast NUAP Coordinator

Following ongoing strike of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), the South East Coordinator of Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAP), Comrade Charles Nwoye has accused Federal Governement of b responsible for the dwindling health condition of Nigerians and poor rating of the health sector

He said whether the strike would be protracted or called off soon would be dependent on governement response to the issues that had led to the industrial action.

Comrade Nwoye who addressed journalists at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi at the weekend as the Chairman of NUAP at the health institution insisted that a responsible and responsive governement would have proactively stopped the action by listening to the union.

He said that governement was being funny with Nigerians which he noted had always been the case.

“I categorically state that the Federal Governement is responsible for the dwindling health condition of Nigerians and poor rating of the health sector. And over the years they have refused to take professional advice to make sure that the health system is running very well.

“At present, the JOHESU is reviving a strike that the Federal Governement tried to bamboozle the union to stop in 2018. Practically, one of the major reasons we embarked on strike in 2018 was governement’s inability to do the needful and they applied all obnoxious formula to make sure the strike stopped.

“Up till now, the same issues are still at stake. A responsible governement would have swung into action to see that these issues are sorted out over five years now, ” he said.

Comrade Nwoye recalled that in 2017 JOHESU concluded a negotiation with the Federal Governement on the implementation of adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) meant for health workers and health professionals.

“But unfortunately, the adjustment did not happen because the Ministry of Health has been illegally colonized by the dental and medical practitioners. The Ministers we have been having have been very biased, very parochially minded in taking decisions that affect the health workers in the health sector.

“They always exhibit partiality in applying the welfare of the workers. They always take into cognizance those of the medical and dental practitioners who are their colleagues first and treat their matter above and beyond every other person, which is wrong, ” he noted.

2014, according to him, was when his union started negotiating for the adjusted CONHESS. He said in that same year, was Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMHESS) created for dental and medical practitioners which he said had ever since been adjusted leaving CONHESS to remain stagnant.

“They refused the same adjustment for us. And it is important to note that as at the point of implementation of these two salary structures, it was agreed that whenever any of them is adjusted, the other should be adjusted.

“When one is reviewed the other should be reviewed in line with whatever rate applied. We are working in the same health system irrespective of the fact that we are not doing the same thing.

“And each of us has an important thing we are doing for the wellbeing of the patient. If you remove any of us, the health system cannot be complete, ” he said.

He accused the Federal Governement of playing what he described as biased game through the cronies of dental and medical practitioners members in the health ministry.

He said that the union’s agitation to get the CONHESS adjusted had continued to be frustrated by the powers that be at the Federal level.

“They applied all forms of governement might and force to intimidate our members in different parts of the country. They tried to force our leaders into coming to terms with whatever their dictates are which is unacceptable to us.

“Since 2014, they have been enjoying their CONMHESS while our own has not been adjusted thereby widening the gap between what we receive and what members of the dental and medical practitioners receive.

“And that is the major reason there won’t be peace in the health sector.They should be able to understand that when we talk about relativity, it already exists at the point of entry.

“None is more important than the other. We are facing almost the same kind of hazards. It’s the same patient that a physiotherapist sees that a physician sees. The same patient nurses see in the wards that the consultant physicians see.

“The medical laboratory scientist works with the samples of that patient and samples are known to contain the highest hazards because that is where you have the blood, liquids, urine and the rest of them from the patient which are highly infectious substance from the patients. We are exposed to high hazards more than the physician who sees the patients at the clinic and walks away, ” he said.

He lamented that dental and medical practitioners members as sister professionals instead of supporting his union and acknowledge what the union is fighting as its right would not do so but rather work against the JOHESU members.

“They will rather be working against us because they have their own people at the helm of affairs, who they can influence, ” he said.

He said all the committees responsible for working out the schedules and financial implication for the adjustment had all done their work including salary, income and wages commission and the chart put out for the adjustment to be made. He wondered why it had been difficult for the Minister of Health to present it to the Federal Executive Council for assent.

He also said that the union kicked against, according to him, the Labour Minister’s proposal of a peculiar allowance for the civil servants with the exclusion of his union.

“Why should we be excluded? We are in the same country, buying from the same market. These acts of Federal Governement agents are responsible for brain drain we have in Nigeria.

“A lot of my union members have left for greener pastures because of unfavourable condition, ” he concluded.

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