Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has called on the federal government for a timely intervention into â€Žwhat it described as inequality in the health sector.
â€ŽThe national chairman of the federal health institutions sector of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Comrade Wale Olatunde made this call at the opening ceremony of the 10th annual labour workshop of the sector.
He said the issue of inequality has become so worrisome as government has continued to give key and sensitive positions to only members of a particular profession to the detriment of others in the sector. He said with this unwholesome practice, alliance would continually be paid to the profession in question.
He said amongst other issues the association was clamouring for was the monthly contributory pension scheme which was often denied nurses for a long period to time after retirement as well as the federal governmentâ€™s non compliance to the rulings of the court in favour of the association.
“Why not bring somebody that has no loyalty to any particular profession and make it open for anybody who is fit and capable and not to make it a birthright of any particular profession who will see himself in that position as a representative. These are the challenges and problems we are facing. There are pharmacists, nurses, lab scientists that are qualified and can become CMDs of hospitals and in other climes, they are performing better.
“We all know that the basic minimumâ€Ž wage can no longer take the Nigerian worker home. It is no longer realistic with the economic situation and we are part of it and equally affected and that’s why we are making our position known through our secretariat and we pass it on to the national conference an then to the federal government.
“We are workers and are contributing to the pension scheme because we all know that we are workers and one day we will retire. However, the news coming out from that office is not palatable. You retire for six to nine months and you cannot get your gratuity. Then what is the essence of the contributory pensions programme? So we want to gather the challenges, put them together and then proffer solutions.
“Some of these issues are as long as 1980. Some of the current ones we are talking about even took us through the processes of the court and judgement was given in 2012. We persevered because of the love we have for our people. We believe that those at the Federal Ministry of Health should do the needful but they are not doing it but are rather compounding the issues. If it were only the nurses going on strikes, then we would have said that something is wrong. But if it is not nurses today, it will be doctors or lab scientist, etc and that is an indication that something is definitely wrong,” he said.