Health Workers May Resume Strike Tomorrow

Health workers, excluding medical doctors, under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Health Care Professionals (AHPA), may resume their suspended industrial action tomorrow, February 18, 2016.

The group, which had a fortnight ago given the Federal Government Wednesday, February 17, 2016 as deadline to meet their demands, in statement signed yesterday by leaders of
five different associations that make up the group said: “In view of the failure of the present Federal Government to accede to our demands, JOHESU and AHPA at their joint meeting held on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at the Medical Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) Secretariat in Abuja have resolved to give a 15-day ultimatum beginning from February 3, 2016.

“It is our hope and desire that the Federal Government would take necessary steps to ensure that our demands are met on or before Wednesday, February 17, 2016 in order to forestall the impending avoidable industrial action.”

Meanwhile, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), a member of AHPA, Ahmed I. Yakasai, has urged the Federal Government to prevent the strike even as he called for 15 per cent of the national budget to be allocated to the health sector as well as full implementation of the National Health Act with provision for the one per cent of the consolidated national fund, which is about N60 billion.

Yakasai told The Guardian: “I hope the government will not allow this to degenerate into a strike because the vulnerable, especially the patients, will pay for it. If you have money to fly out, the downtrodden, the masses, cannot afford that. So, the government has to do something quickly to prevent that kind of thing from happening.

“We have said it is 3.65 per cent but we thought that the one per cent of the consolidated revenue will be reflected in the budget. Do not forget that even the minister said that the budget submitted was not really the actual budget. So, they will go back to the drawing board and come back.
“We hope that probably the N60 billion from the one per cent consolidated fund will be reflected. If we really want to improve Primary Health Care (PHC), that one per cent must be there.