Staff of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo in Ondo State have staged a peaceful protest over the abduction of one of their members.
The workers, under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), demanded the immediate and unconditional release of a Pharmacist, Mrs Queen Adeyeye, who was kidnapped last Saturday in the Southwest Nigerian state.
The aggrieved workers abandoned their duty posts to stage the protest, carrying placards to express their demand.
The woman, said to be a widow, was kidnapped while returning home from a vigil on that fateful day.
The Chairman of JOHESU, FMC, Owo, Joseph Omoniyi as well as other numbers threatened to down tool indefinitely if their colleague was not released.
They appealed to the government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of workers of the medical centre, saying their lives were no longer safe.
Health workers under the aegis of Nigerian Union of Allied Health professionals (NUAHP) in all government hospitals across the country on Tuesday declared the commencement of an indefinite strike.
National President of the Union, Comrade Obinna Ogbonna, who called for the industrial action after a meeting with health professionals at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC) in Ile-ife, Osun State, said that the strike became imperative following the failure by outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan to honour the agreement reached by both parties.
Since 2014, health workers particularly members of the NUAHP began agitation for several issues ranging from implementation of agreed salary of all health professionals as done for NMA, to the payment of arrears on skipping of CONHESS-10 since year 2010 in compliance with court judgement.
Other requests which include appointment of health professionals as Chief Medical Directors and many others have however met with a brick wall leading to various strikes.
The Union said that in February 2015, outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan met with the leadership of JOHESU and appealed for suspension of the ongoing strike at that time with the promise to resolve the pending issues.
According to the union, all promises are yet to be fulfilled, hence the call for the members to proceed on an indefinite strike.
In spite of appeal, the strike has been called and the members comprising of medical laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, dieticians, radiologists, optometrists and medical social service workers in hospitals across the states will boycott work, crippling major activities in the hospitals.
An immediate end to the current industrial action embarked upon by members of the Joint Health Sectors Unions (JOHESU), which has paralyse activities across Federal Government hospitals across the country may not be in sight as the body has vowed to carry on with its struggle until justice, equity and fair play is brought to the fore in the demands by the striking unions.
At a press conference in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the National Vice Chairman of the Union, Mr. Felix Faniran, accused the Federal Government of not being sincere in its dealings with health workers, saying the body has been polarized by government, a situation, which he said, has continued to fan an ember of disunity between the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and other health workers
While reiterating that the struggle will continue until their demands are met, he however appealed to the general public to bear with the unions
It will be recalled that members of JOHESU had embarked on a strike since November 12 to drive home their demands for a good working conditions and welfare.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has described the industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Union as unjustifiable, unnecessary and unfortunate.
The supervising Minister of Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, on Thursday stated the government’s position on the matter at a news conference held in Abuja.
Dr. Alhassan said the decision of health workers executive to embark on strike was unnecessary because there were ongoing negotiations between the union and the government.
The minister also said the call for strike suggested that there could be more to the incessant strikes by the union than what it was clamouring for.
The union had on Wednesday said it would commence an industrial action on Thursdayto press for the implementations of agreements reached between the union and the government two months ago.
The chairman of the union, Dr Wahab Ayuba, complained that the government had failed to implement court rulings and agreements over salaries harmonisation, promotions and the imposition of consultants in teaching hospitals who they claim now usurp administrative roles in the hospitals.
The mission of the Ministry of Health is to develop and implement policies and programmes and undertake other actions to deliver effective, efficient, quality and affordable health services.
The Federal Ministry of Health has been in the news for the wrong reasons at different times. Strikes and threats of strike, rivalry among health sector professionals, lack of equipment and many more, tend to overshadow the progress being made by the ministry to improve Nigeria’s health indicators.
The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu has been in charge since the year 2010, and he joins us on this edition of ‘View From The Top’.
The Minister said that the Government was not doing badly, as it had recorded a reduction of maternal mortality rate in Nigeria by 56 per cent, which he said was no mean achievement.
In terms of immunisation, the government had also achieved 80 per cent coverage.
He, however, said that the federal system of government that Nigeria was practicing was contributing to problems with health indices. He complained that although Nigerians are beginning to understand how federal system ought to work, there were some local governments that are still waiting for the Federal Government to come and do everything for them.
The Minister also spoke about the several plans of the ministry for the year 2014. Enjoy the interview.
The National Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) on Monday suspended its one-week nationwide strike with effect from Tuesday. This according to the union will give the federal government more time to meet its demands.
The Acting National Chairman of the Union, Felix Faniran announced the suspension at a press conference held at the NASU secretariat in Ibadan.
Mr Faniran, who said the decision was to minimise the sufferings of ordinary Nigerians, directed members of the union to resume work on Tuesday morning.
JOHESU, an amalgamation which comprises various professional unions in the health sector, had on May 7 embarked on the nationwide strike in federal health institutions.
Mr Faniran said the strike was justified because the government had refused to meet its 10 demands.
He, however, said six out of the demands of the union had been exhaustively discussed with both the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and Ministry of Health while they were resolved in favour of the union.
Mr Faniran listed the remaining four demands to be non-skipping of CONHESS 10, National Health Bill, consultancy status and payment of specialist allowance as well as negotiation of call duty and other professional allowances.
He urged the presidency to expedite action on the Presidential Committee Report on Harmonious Work Relationship among Health Professional and Workers.
Mr Faniran also implored members to show concern with Nigerians, adding that all issues raised would be resolved in their interest.