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MHWUN re-elects Biobelemoye President for second term

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•Health workers seek democratisation of appointments
Members of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) have re-elected Josiah Biobelemoye as its President for another four years. Biobelemoye was re-elected alongside 25 other national officers during the 10th delegates conference of the union, which took place in Abuja last week.

The deputy General Secretary of the union, Tony Oghagbo subsequently administered the oath of office on the newly elected national officers.

All the 26 members of the National Executive Council (NEC) members were returned unopposed. In his acceptance speech, the re-elected MHWUN President said he would not take the new mandate for granted and promised the delegates next level of achievements.He promised to pursue the needs and aspirations of the union and its members.

The MHWU President also urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to appoint a medical doctor as the Minister of Labour in his second term. He also called on the President to ensure that 700 whistle blowers at Federal Medical Centre Owerri, who were victimised are acknowledged and restored back to service.

Biobelemoye observed that unless the Minister of Health, Minister of State for Health, Permanent Secretary, and heads of departments in the ministry of health are all professionals in the health sector, the incessant strike would continue.

The MHWUN President said the continue handing over of the sector to one profession, whose sole purpose is to exclude others in the healthcare delivery system can only lead to industrial disharmony.The union leader further described as embarrassing the once celebrated health sector in Nigeria has now been bedevilled by poor management, which has led to mass exodus of medical and health personnel to other countries.

He advice that if the business of government is to ensure the security and improve the welfare of its citizen, then the privatisation of the health sector as being canvassed by some stakeholders would not provide succour to the people.

His words: “What has destroyed the whole health system in Nigeria is the government’s mistake of handing over the management of the health system to an opportunistic and ill-equipped powerful minority of the health team who have completely destroyed the team spirit and arrogated to itself the sole ownership of the system to the exclusion of the larger majority of the team members.

“Under this guise, the focus is no longer patient-centred service, but self-serving motives leading to not only corruption in the system, but a management of the sector by a very ill-equipped professionals that have abandoned their duties in the clinics and theatres for management assignments.

“Moreover, as long as the appointment of Ministers of health, directors in the ministry of health and Chief Executives of Health institutions remain the birth right of one profession – the medical doctors – to the exclusion of others, turbulence and inefficiency shall continue to thrive because they are not trained for such duties. Their discriminatory disposition would continue to invite protestations from other members of the health team who are in the majority.

“As long as no conscious effort is made to break this monopoly by the Medical Directors, a monopoly that is self serving, Nigerians would continue to suffer for it and not even privatisation that the Federal Ministry of Health is hatching would halt this destructive nose-diving of the health indices of Nigerians.

“We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take a special interest in the health sector with a view to reversing the trend. As an immediate action to instil confidence in the system, the appointment of Ministers in the Ministry must not necessarily be only health professionals in order to halt politics of exclusion that is deep rooted in the Ministry.”


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Josiah BiobelemoyeMHWUN
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