By Agbo Sunday,Abakaliki
Joint Health Sector Unions,JOHESU,Federal Teaching Hospital,Abakaliki Branch, on Wednesday protested against what it termed deliberate infringements of its members rights by the Federal Ministry of Health,FMoH, and therefore, called for the resignation of the health Minister,Prof. Isaac Adewole for his negligence and insincerity.
JOHESU is made up of four unions comprising Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, NUAHP, Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals,Research Institute and Associated Institutions, SSAUTHRIAL,National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM and the Medical and Health Workers Union, MHWUN.
The protesting health workers who matched from FETHA 11 to FETHA 1 carried placards bearing inscriptions like “Federal Ministry of Health stop description; Federal Ministry of Health obey PSR and court judgment;Federal Ministry of Health stop corruption, it is evil; and National Assembly call Health Minister to order.
Others are: “JOHESU rejects privatization of our hospitals; Rots in Federal Ministry of Health must be cleaned;Peace is not the absence of conflict but presence of justice; WHO ranks of our health system 187 out of 190 nations, what happened?,etc.
The Chairman of NUAHP,Comrade Obiefuna Okeke who read their protests letter before the Chief Medical Director of FETHA, Dr. Emeka Ogah,a copy of which was made available to our Correspondent, said the union condemned and rejected in its entirety,the stagnation of promotion of their members.
JOHESU said the ranking of Nigeria’s health system 187 out of 190 nations by the World Health Organization, attested the level of decay of the country health sector which if it were to be in other climes, the Health Minister should have voluntary resigned.
“The action of Federal Ministry of Health to stagnate officers on CONHESS level 11-14 after promotion amounts to a surreptitious attempt to reverse the legitimate skipping of CONHESS 10 as ruled on by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria”,the letter read in part.
JOHESU said they were dismayed by the double standard of the FMoH which had been most insincere following the refusal to pay the accumulated arrears to its members, whereas thesame ministry sent a fact finding teams to various
facilities over illegal skipping of CONMESS 2 for medical Practitioners and payment of arrears.
They also demanded that the arrears of 2015 and 2016 promotion be released as well as the arrears of the enhanced Call Duty Allowance that has accumulated from January 2014-July 2015 with immediate effect to the affected workers as the reward for their hardwork in order to be more productive.
“Our members in all junior staff cadre that have followed the due process in acquiring additional qualification and deserved to be converted to the senior staff cadre have exercised sufficient patience for the release of their names. We therefore demand an immediate release of the list of such eligible persons as well as the release of their accrued arrears”.
JOHESU further demanded the reversal of the November-December 2016, over deductions from the salaries for Pension fund, tax and national housing fund,regretting that FMoH was not always in hurry to address injustices done to her members unlike when it commits the infringement.
The union also wants upward adjustment of the CONHESS salary structure,arguing that FMoH should be applying double standard in matters affecting medical practitioners and other health professionals.
They further expressed displeasure over the poor implementation of the enhanced entry point for medical laboratory scientists with upgrading of previous serving officers to maintain seniority as well as non-promotion of their members to the rank of Director even when there were vacancies.
Receiving the letter on behalf of the Health Minister, the CMD who was represented by the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee, Robinson Onoh, assured the workers that their protests letter would be conveyed to the Federal Ministry of Health Abuja without delay, where their complaints and grievances would be properly addressed.
Thereafter, Chairman of NUAHP in the state addressed his members at the protest venue where he announced indefinite strike, effective from Wednesday and directed members to strictly observe the strike action until government met their demands.
But the Chairman of MHWU,Comrade ,Nwofe Sabinus who also addressed his own colleagues asked them to continue coming to work until the 21days ultimatum it gave to government which expires on 13th before deciding to embark on strike on not.