FG, health workers set for showdown

Minister of State Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

Minister of State Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

The national leadership of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Health Care Professionals have vowed to resist the current efforts by government to reinstate the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri.

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had on Wednesday announced the reinstatement of suspended Medical Director of the institution, Dr. Angela Uwakwem after a suspension that crippled activities at the Centre for months. Controversy hit the FMC Owerri when Mrs Uwakwem, embarked on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme “to entrench transparency and accountability” around April 2015.

The initiative was rejected by the Workers’ Union who went on a series of strikes and disrupted hospital services. They raised several charges against the MD, including financial mismanagement and highhandedness and demanded her removal from office. When government was not forthcoming with the demands, they embarked on a strike action.

But the reinstatement is again threatening the peace at the Centre and other government institutions as JOHESU has asked its members across the country to prepare for a showdown with the Federal Government. National Chairman of JOHESU, Dr. Biobelemoye Josiah told newsmen in Abuja that the Union was not against the Public Private Partnership module of government, but alleged that the template being proposed at the institute was wrongly conceived and skewed to lead to job losses and diversion of funds. He called for the probe of the Ministry of Health over alleged moves to cover up investigations.

But the Health Ministry noted that the centre was temporarily shut to avert breakdown of law and order. Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, noted that after investigations, the Federal Ministry of Health had decided that the substantive management of Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri, led by Dr. Uwakwem, should resume its functions immediately and shall be supported by a team from Abuja.

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