Nigeria health workers threaten strike over rot in sector

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health.

The Union of Allied Health Professionals, NUAHP, has put Nigeria’s federal government on notice that its members would go on strike after February 27, if it fails to address the rot in the health system.

The group, which comprises all hospital health staff, gave the notice on Monday during a street protest in Abuja.

“If nothing is done against the flagrant display of lawlessness, perversion of justice and the rot in the health sector accounting for millions of preventable pains and death in Nigeria before 27th February, 2017 the union will be left with no other option than to declare a strike action,” warned Ogbonna Obinna, president of the union.

He said the protest was against the deplorable condition of Nigeria’s health sector.

The protest was the third in Abuja this February, the first being the anti-government protest against the rising cost of living in Nigeria.

The union marched at the Federal Secretariat, the Three Arms Zone and Shehu Shagari Way in the federal capital, with union members carrying placards with various inscriptions.

Some of the inscriptions were “Federal Ministry of Health has legalised corruption”, ” Implement consultancy status for other Health professionals.” “Federal Ministry of Health worse than ever”, “Obey the rule of law”, “Rots in Federal Ministry of Health must be cleansed”, “Federal Ministry of Health stop the discrimination”, ” Stop gambling with the health of Nigerians”, and ” Our hospitals are empty.”

Mr. Obinna said the union was not comfortable with the way officials of the Federal Ministry of Health were “gambling with the health of Nigerians through various obnoxious, offensive and retrogressive policies that have resulted into our health indices nose diving to 187 out of 191 countries censored by the world Health Organisation in 2016.”

He stressed, “One will question why our President, Muhammed Buhari, and other high-ranking Nigerians will go outside to seek medical attention if our health system is in order.

“The late President of South Africa before he passed on was never taken abroad to seek medical attention but our leaders often neglect our health infrastructure to decay, leaving the Nigerian masses’ health at the mercy of God while they use taxpayers’ money to treat ailments which can be handled here abroad

“Confidence in our health system by Nigerians is completely eroded, for lack of infrastructures, personnel and equipment in our hospitals which has become death centres”, he said.

The union also called for forensic auditing of the ministry, and the abolition of the position of the Deputy Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (ADCMAC).

The position, the union claimed, is alien to Cap U15 LFN 2004, which is the enabling law that established the teaching hospitals. It said the ministry and management of government hospitals created the position.

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Nike Adebowale covers the health beat.  She holds a degree from Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti.

Twitter: @nikeadebowale1 

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