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Ngige commends nurses, midwives’ dedication to tackling COVID-19

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NANNM demands the Health Minister’s resignation 

The performances of Nigeria’s health professionals in tackling the rampaging Coronavirus pandemic have drawn applause from the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige. 

This comes as the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has demanded the immediate resignation of the Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, over his comments on payment of hazard allowance for doctors and health workers at the frontline of the pandemic in the country.

The commendation is contained in a goodwill message by the Minister to the President of NANNM, Abdulrafiu Adetunji, on the occasion of the 2020 World Health Day Celebration. 

The World Health Organisation has dedicated this year’s World Health Day to the Nursing Profession with a theme, “Support Nurses and Midwives,” in view of their critical role in the battle against the raging COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the Minister, the account of the battle on COVID-19 would be incomplete without the gallant roles of the healthcare professionals -doctors, nurses/midwives, Laboratory Technicians and Allied Health Professionals.

“They are the bulwark, the frontline soldiers in the war against the enemy – the coronavirus and its attendant disease condition COVID-19,” Ngige said. 

The Minister recalled that the circumstances, in which the Nurses and Midwives operate to save lives, expose them to numerous health hazards and in some cases, death and noted the appropriateness of the theme of this year’s celebration.  

He further paid glowing tributes to the efforts of the members of the union in fighting the pandemic in Nigeria, urging them not to relent in the various battles of the war, especially in the epicentre of the pandemic in Lagos FCT and other states of the federation. 

The union, which was reacting to the Minister’s revelation that he was not aware if medical doctors and other health practitioners managing COVID-19 patients in Nigeria were paid any hazard allowance.

The union then demanded that the Minister resigns immediately for displaying crass ignorance on the sector he is mandated to supervise.

The union expressed sadness and total disappointment at the Minister in an open letter sent to him, which was also sent to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and President Muhammadu Buhari.

The union alleged that the health sector has for many years suffered from the hands of egoistic leaders, who have misplaced their priorities as against the normalcy to reshape and reform the health sector

It said that the rot in the health sector was as a result of the negligence and political bias that has only seen a section of healthcare professionals continuing to be both ministers for health in this country.

“At this crucial period, the leadership of the Ministry of Health who should be making efforts to boost the morale of healthcare professionals as the frontline defence in this battle to eradicate COVID-19 has failed in careful encouragements to see the success of the battle.

“It is unfortunate that the minister would be insensitive on national TV to further dampen the morale of the already overwhelmed healthcare staff by saying they only check temperatures and he is not aware of the ridiculous N5,000 hazard allowance being paid to healthcare professionals,” the letter read in part.

The union asked the Federal Government to immediately constitute a committee to review the ridiculous N5,000 hazard allowance being paid to health workers and the report of the committee be made available within two weeks.

The group also urged the government to change the status quo of “only fielding a member of the healthcare professional as the Minister, a review should be done immediately and other competent members such as Nurses, Pharmacists, Laboratory Scientists and other healthcare professionals are called upon to also serve their fatherland.


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