Wednesday, 25 April 2018

We never had a tangible agreement with the government other than ‘minutes of meeting’— Minister for health says

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole,
has alleged that the the Joint Health
Sector Union (JOHESU) was trying to
arm twist the Federal Government into
implementing a non-existing agreement.
Adewole made the claim at the end of the
Federal Executive Council meeting
presided over by President Muhammadu
Buhari on Wednesday, adding that the
union, which began an indefinite strike
across the country last week Wednesday,
never had a tangible agreement with the
government other than ‘minutes of
meeting’ which predates the current
administration.
Adewole, responding to a question on
what the Federal Government was doing
to halt the strike, said a high level
technical committee had been constituted
to look into the financial demands raised
by the union
The committee had sat on Sunday at the
Office of the Secretary to the Government
of the Federation and reconvened the
meeting on Monday, but no progress was
made on resolving the issues.
The meeting was scheduled to continue
Wednesday night.
JOHESU says the resumption of the
industrial action was predicated on
alleged delay tactics and deliberate foot-
dragging on the part of the Federal
Government in approving the adjustment
of Consolidated Health Salary Scale
(CONHESS), similar to what was done for
medical doctors’ Consolidated Medical
Salary Scale (CONMESS) since January
2014, and also replicated with yet another
approval for the same CONMESS in
September, 2017 for the medical doctors.
The health workers grievances comes
against the backdrop of poor access to
healthcare in the country, and calls for
public health reforms to counter the
menace of clinical disease like Lassa
fever, Ebola and monkey-pox.
The strike, which has paralyzed services
in government hospitals across the
country, is being spearheaded by Medical
and Health Workers Unions of Nigeria
(MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria
Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Senior
Staff Association of Universities, Teaching
Hospitals, Research Institutes and
Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAM),
Nigeria Union of Allied Health
Professionals (NUAHP) and Non Academic
Staff Union of Educational and Associated
Institutes (NASU).
Meanwhile, the minister has said about
two million Nigerians are affected with
sickle cell anaemia.
He further mentioned that there are plans
to establish a fully functional department
for traditional medicine at the Federal
Ministry of Health. Adewole said,
following persistent cases of malaria in
the country, the Ministry was now open to
exploiting traditional medicine in tackling
the problem.

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