Health workers flay closure of Owerri hospital
THE closure of the Owerri Medical Centre is a disregard for the agreement reached by labour and the management of the hospital that may snowball into full-scale industrial unrest in the institution, health workers have warned.
Speaking under the umbrella of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) in Abuja at the weekend, the workers said the temporary shutdown of the hospital by the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole took all the stakeholders by surprise.
A statement signed by JOHESU Chairman, Biobelemoye Josiah, the Vice Chairman, Dr. Ogbonna Obinna and the Secretary,Florence Ekpebor, said the closure of the medical Centre was not among the options arrived at in a meeting held at the centre in Owerri on December 4, which has in attendance the minister himself, members of House of Representatives and the union leaders who all traveled down to Oweri for the crucial meeting.
The joint union explained that after a long deliberation on how to resolve the industrial dispute, the Minister had drawn up two options, which include a decision that the Medical Director and the management committee be given a second chance and allow to stay in office, while the situation would be assessed within three months.
The second option was that the Medical Director and the management members should go while an Administrator will be put in place to restructure the system.
Consequence upon the agreement, the Minister was said to have mandated the stakeholders to meet and choose one of the two options upon which he would then act.
The statement added: “Surprisingly, the Honourable Minister of Health discarded the peoples’ decision, and opted for the closure of the hospital, which was not an option placed before the house.”
JOHESU insisted that the implementation of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is the root cause of the crisis, explaining that the implementation of the model has resulted into outsourcing of staff, retrenchment privatization/concessioning and denial of workers’ rights.
Therefore, it declared that the implementation of PPP so far negates the original concept of PPP model.
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