FG Gives Firm Assurance to Address Demands of Health Workers

•Orders teaching hospitals to double their recruitment

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

In a bid to pacify aggrieved health sector professionals, the Federal Government has assured that it is committed to enhancing their well-being and safety by addressing issues of concern in the sector.

It also assured that it will take necessary steps to improve the standard of healthcare in the country, including upgrading all government-run healthcare facilities nationwide.

In addition, the government disclosed that it has instructed all federal teaching hospitals to accelerate their hiring process for medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, to prevent a shortage of healthcare workers in the country.

The government stated this during a meeting convened by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, in her office, where she met with representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health and the leadership of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) led by its national president, Dr. Dele Abdullahi, to discuss and resolve issues brought forward by the association to the ministry.

A statement by the Minister’s Special Adviser on Media, Emameh Gabriel, said that the leadership of the medical association had presented their grievances to the Minister, demanding urgent action to address the issues, most of which were unresolved matters inherited from the previous administration.

These grievances include inadequate compensation, delayed payments of allowances, insufficient training funds, issues with the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), poor working conditions, and security threats, notably the recent incident at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Lokoja.

The statement quoted the Minister as having said that  government acknowledges the concerns of the medical community, and has assured that efforts are underway to resolve the issues.

According to the minister, some of these grievances are already being addressed while others in various stages of implementation.

Additionally, She said that relevant government agencies are working to tackle specific problems, with the belief that improved working conditions and benefits will act as incentives for healthcare professionals who have left the country to return.

Onyejeocha expressed her gratitude to the association for their willingness to work together and acknowledged their recognition of the government’s achievements in specific areas, stating the positive outcomes of their cooperation.

She said: “I had earlier heard about some of your concerns raised, and of which I deemed very serious. I share in your concerns and I am here to let you know that the government is poised to improving your standard, believing that when you are treated well, those who left our country will return, because Nigeria is the best place to stay. I believe that strike is the last option. That is why I wouldn’t want to wait till strike notice is issued.

“I have heard what you have said.

The good thing is that we have been very cooperative, and I will reach out to my colleagues whose offices fall within the duties of certain issues you have raised. So that we will know how to fast-track solutions.

“I am glad that you acknowledged some of the areas the Ministry of Health has addressed and how they have been “proactive”. I am promising you that we have a government that is responsible and proactive. Our President is committed and pushing us to ensure that we do not leave situation of things the way we met them.”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Daju Kachollom, who represented the Minister of Health,  acknowledged the issues and noted that the Ministry of Health was working with other relevant ministries to address the concerns, including power supply and security.

She also disclosed that the 2024 budget has provisions for solar power in all federal tertiary hospitals.

She also said  that the Ministry of Health has instructed teaching hospitals to double their intake of doctors and nurses.

She said: “On our health sector, our doctors are no doubt the best paid, but their renumeration needs to be improved. I wish the Federal Ministry of Finance and the accountant general were here to say more, because the issue of renumeration cannot be solved only by the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Health.

“On the issue of power, the federal Minister of health is in touch with the ministry of power.

In the 2024 budget, there is a provision for solar power for federal tertiary hospitals.

On the issue of Japa, everyone is “japaing” for several reasons, and we are putting in our best to ensure we do not lack manpower in our health sector.

“On the issue of insecurity, the Minister of Health has spoken to the National Security Adviser and putting pressure on other security concerns of the healthcare workers.

“Let me also bring to your notice, Hon. Minister, that the Ministry of Health has asked the teaching hospitals to double their intake of doctors and nurses”, she said.

Related Articles