Union Kicks against Buhari’s Health Sector Reform Committee
•Demands end to discriminatory practices
Health workers under the umbrella of the National Union of Allied Health Professionals (NAUHP) has expressed dissatisfaction with the composition of the Presidential Committee on Health Sector Reform chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The union demanded the reconstitution of committee to include representatives of other healthcare professionals and health sector unions.
The healthcare workers made up of professionals in the pharmacy, medical laboratory science, physiotherapy, radiography, dietetics, dental technology, occupational therapy, health information management, nutrition, medical social work, speech therapy, optometry, clinical psychology, prosthetics/orthotics, medical physics and audiology, said the constitution of the presidential committee was skewed in favour of medical doctors to the exclusion of other health care workers.
The workers further called for a complete overhauling of public health infrastructures nationwide.
President of NUAHP, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna who addressed a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, said, “the reform committee with over 95 per cent presence of physicians already negates the rights and liberties of the majority of health workers in Nigeria.”
He said the training of medical practitioners was also being given priority over other healthcare professionals.
Ogbonna said another disturbing trend was that physicians believed that they, “own” the patients whereas the World Medical Association stated that they have an obligation to cooperate in coordination of medically indicated care with other healthcare providers treating the patients.
Nigeria’s health sector is currently rated 187 globally, closely with war-raged countries
He said the bone of contention was the controversial Decree 10 of 1985 promulgated by the military and still in use.
Ogbonna blamed the offensive decree as being responsible to a large extent for the deterioration in the country’s health sector thus leading to the scandalous drop in the country’s global rating.
Ogbonna said health workers were demanding outright stoppage of all forms of discriminatory and unfair practices against other health professionals in full compliance with International Labour Organisation Convention and Sections 15 (2), 17 (3), and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
They also said appointment of Chief Medical Director should be thrown open for other health care professionals to compete and should be re-designated as Chief Executive Officer.
Other demands by the union included: “Commencement of the payment of new hazard allowance for healthcare workers, implementation of sections of past presidential committee reports on health sector considered to be fair to all stakeholders, immediate implementation of circular on Pharmacist Consultant Cadre and approval and implementation of adjusted Consolidate Health Salary Structure (CONHESS).
They also demanded payment of outstanding arrears of promotion, withheld salaries and other allowances in all federal health institutions and full implementation of CONHESS for state health workers in states yet to do so.