Health workers threaten to resume strike, shut hospitals nationwide

Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU)

Health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Health Care Professionals (AHPA) have threatened to resume the strike they suspended on October 5, 2017.

They also threatened to shut down public hospitals and research institutes nationwide over “recurrent failure of the Federal Government to implement agreements reached with them on September 30, 2017.’’

JOHESU is an umbrella body made up of five registered trade unions: Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN); National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM); Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI); Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP); and Non Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU).

JOHESU/AHPA in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari dated 4th December 2017 and jointly signed by the National Chairman, JOHESU, Biobelemoye Joy Josiah; and the National Secretary, Ekpebor Florence, noted: “The JOHESU/AHPA wishes to make it abundantly clear that if the Federal Government refuses to redress these anomalies and injustice by implementing our pending agreements immediately, we shall have no choice than to succumb to the pressure of our members who have insisted on resuming their strike which was suspended on October 5,2017.

“Unlike the last strike which was restricted to Federal Health Institutions, the looming strike will be across board to include both states and Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria. For the records, Nigerians must hold Professor Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health responsible for this unwholesome development which is not expected to be in public interest.”

The health workers demand that the Federal Government redresses the impasse created by the seemingly endless vicious cycle of fruitlessness of our perennial negotiations to generate Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), agreements and even circulars.

Meanwhile, the Former Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has confirmed that Nigeria lost about N175 billion annually to medical tourism.Chukwu made this known at the 2017 Faculty of Clinical Sciences 10th Faculty Week and Scientific Conference, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, with theme: “Medical Tourism in Nigeria”.He said that the wasted fund is more than 50 per cent of the proposed total budget for 2018 for the federal health sector.

According to him, the health sector is being denied the much needed funding which is affecting its development, for if there is changes, patronage will boost the economy. “Skill proficiency becomes a victim as both trainers and trainees are not exposed to enough cases and of course quality of care ultimately suffers,

He called on government to support the health sectors by providing standard medical equipment that will be equivalent to foreign countries, so that people will partronise Nigeria medical doctors.

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JOHESUOnyebuchi Chukwu
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