Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The nurses and midwives in federal health institutions across the country are set to abide by the decision of the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) to embark on industrial action tomorrow if the federal government fails to accede to its demands at the expiration of the ultimatum given to the government by midnight today.
Rising from a stakeholdersâ€™ meeting in Abuja tuesday, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), as a bonafide collaborator with JOHESU, called on its members in federal health institutions which include teaching hospitals, research centres and federal medical centres to down tools and stay away from hospitals and other health facilities nationwide on the order of the umbrella body.
The National President of NANNM, Abdulrafiu Adeniji, while briefing journalists on the development said: â€œBy yesterdayâ€™s expiration of our ultimatum, all federal health institutions will remain closed.â€
By extension, he said: â€œAll states and local government health institutions are hereby put on red alert. If nothing is done after one week that the strike might have commenced, they should also go on strikeâ€, adding that the only language that the Nigerian government understands is the strike.â€
According to him, the meeting, which had in attendance members of the national executive council of the association, representatives of the chairmenâ€™s forum, executives of NANNM in federal institutions as well as state executive officers, was â€œoccasioned by the looming crisis in the nationâ€™s health sector with a view to review the situation and come up with resolutions.â€
Stressing that the federal government has taken the association for a ride, the president vehemently said NANNM was not satisfied with the condition of healthcare infrastructure in the country and as a result, asked the government to implement the report of the December 2016 Inter-Ministerial Committee in which contains the solution to industrial crisis in the health sector.
The association, therefore, called on the government to expedite action of the proposed gazetting of a well-deserved scheme of service for nurses and midwives who have to bear the pains and brunt of remaining on the same salary scale for long, while it also asked for the commencement of the scheme of Internship for nurses and midwives. â€œIf this is not done, it will demotivate nurses and other health workers.â€
Other resolutions reached at the meeting he said, the association condemned in entirety the non-inclusion of nurses in the position of decision-making by the Federal Ministry of Health and federal health institutions, saying such position of Directorate cadre should be created for nurses and such be filled with qualified candidates.
Adeniji blamed the festering of quackery in the health sector especially the nursing profession on the inability of the government to recruit more nurses to fill existing vacancies and to fill the job deficit gap.
He said out of about 170,000 licensed nurses and midwives turned out by training institutions across the country, only about 22,000 are gainfully employed in federal institutions, while a majority of Nigerian trained nurses and midwives work outside the shores of the country.
While charging non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations to desist from engaging non-qualified nurses for health related campaigns and programmes, he said, â€œthere must be a red alert on the issue of quackery. We must join hands together to ensure that quackery is reduced to the barest minimum.â€