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Strike: JOHESU, gang up against Nigerian people, govt. – Doctors

Doctors in Kaduna state have described the striking Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) as a gang up against the Nigerian people, government as well as…

Doctors in Kaduna state have described the striking Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) as a gang up against the Nigerian people, government as well as a gang up for the purpose of sabotaging the genuine effort being put in place to ensure a lasting peace and development of the country’s health sector.

 

Jointly addressing a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, the chairman and secretary of the state chapter of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Abdulrahman Shehu and Dr. Moses Tuko respectively called on Nigerians and the federal government to declare JOHESU illegal and unknown to the law; saying any group of healthcare professional with perceived and genuine grievance should follow lawfully established procedure to seek redress.

 

While he condemned the ongoing JOHESU strike, he noted that doctors in all public hospitals have been going about their legitimate duties; saying they have had to go extra miles to cover for the absence of the allied health professionals in some of the facilities, particularly, the federal tertiary health facilities. “Doctors admit, nurse and give medications in the special care baby unit of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria; clinics are running while emergencies are being attended to as well. This is the case also with other federal tertiary health institutions in the state,” he said.

 

According to him, the current strike action by the healthcare workers is basically about two issues including: leadership in the hospital and equal salary with medical doctors. “We appeal to members of other health care workers that NMA considers them important stakeholders in the health team and it is in the best interest of this country if everyone stay within their role as team players,”

 

“Their quest for headship in any aspect of clinical practice is uncalled for, it has brought untold hardship on our patients and in fact, it has resulted in avoidable mortalities in some of our public facilities. A comparison of our health outcomes have also shown that we fared better many years ago when orderliness reigned in our health facilities before the recent misadventure of seeking headship,”

 

On the issue of equal pay with doctors, the doctors reiterated that they are not in any way against wage or salary increment or adjustment for health workers. “In fact, we have advocated wage increment for all Nigerian workers through many of our engagements. What other healthcare workers want incidentally is not necessarily increase in salary per se but they rather want government to pay the equal as doctors. This is like an air hostess asking to be paid equally as a pilot or a court clerk asking to be paid equally as a judge. We say No to this back door attempt at becoming medical doctors. The pathway is clear and open for all who aspire to become a doctor or any other profession for that matter,” Dr. Shehu said.

 

While he commended the peace seeking initiative of the federal government, he stated categorically that NMA will not accept any attempt to further distort the existing relativity as agreed and signed in the collective bargaining agreement of 2014. “It is important to note that this agreement was reached with a lot of compromise and sacrifice already, on the part of the Nigerian doctors; as such, we shall use every means legal to forestall any attempt to disregard the above agreement,”

 

The president of JOHESU, Josiah Biobelemoye had attributed the industrial action to what he described as the ‘insensitivity and lackadaisical attitude of drivers of the health sector’. He listed the union’s demand to include: upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Scale, arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10 and employment of additional health professionals. Other demands are implementation of court judgments and upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years among others.

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