Health Workers Threaten Nationwide Strike On Wednesday

Health workers are threatening to commence an indefinite strike on Wednesday, over alleged breach of agreements by the Federal Government.

The workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations had earlier handed the government a 15-day ultimatum with effect from February 3, 2016 to accede to their 10-point demands or risk nationwide strike.

One of the things the health workers are demanding is that the heads of federal health institutions should be designated “Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, against the present Chief Medical Directors.”

The ultimatum dated February 1 was contained in a letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir David Lawal, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita and copied to some security agencies was signed by JOHESU’s Chairman, Biobelemoye Josiah and expires on Wednesday.
It was obtained by journalists in Abuja.

“In view of the failure of the present Federal Government to accede to our demands, JOHESU and AHPA at their joint meeting resolved to give a 15-day ultimatum, beginning from February 3, 2016,” the workers stated.
“It is our hope and desire that the Federal Government would take necessary steps to ensure that our demands are met on or before Tuesday February 17, 2016, in order to forestall the impending avoidable industrial action.”

While decrying the continued marginalisation of its members which contribute 95 per cent of healthcare providers in the country, the workers stressed that unless government satisfies their demand, they would resume the suspended strike.
The demands of the JOHESU include implementation of a new circular on promotion of its members from CONHESS 14 to 15 as directors “which places premium on the need to sanction defaulting hospital managements.”

According to them, the HoS should ensure the expedited issuance of an enabling circular authorising consultancy cadre for health professionals who had adhered to due process, to be vested with consultancy status.
They also demanded payment of arrears of specialist allowances to qualified hospitals-based health professionals with effect from January 1, 2010 and immediate and full payment of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10 which had remained outstanding since the year 2010.

The workers also demanded that the Federal Ministry of Health should come up with a circular on residency programmes for all health professionals in Nigeria to ensure professional capacity development in the health sector.
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