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Doctors threaten action, reject pay parity, consultancy cadre, others


Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU)

Nigeria records 33% national coverage on immunisation, hospitals count losses

Doctors under the auspices of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) have threatened to resume strike if the Federal Government failed to meet the demands of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA).

Newly elected President of NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile and the Secretary General, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, in a statement, yesterday, noted that the unions plan to extend the industrial action from federal hospitals to states and local councils.

They also rejected demands for pay parity, promotion to consultancy cadre with payment of specialist allowance, headship of departments and hospitals by members of the associations.

“The NMA wishes to draw the attention of the Federal Government to our correspondence of April 21, 2014 on the above, in which we reminded government of the collective bargaining agreement we had in January 2014.

“We once again remind government about the concluding part of our letter no. NMA/PRE/SG/03/0751 of March 21, 2014, which states, ‘In view of the above, the NMA painfully wishes to inform the Federal Government that any award to the non-medically qualified health professionals that violates the January and July agreements of 2014 shall result in the resumption of the suspended withdrawal of service of 2014,” they stated.

The NMA also rejected adjustment in theConsolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) with resultant pay parity between doctors and healthcare professionals allied to medicine, stressing that relativity was sacrosanct.

It added that the demand for professional autonomy was part of the fight for professional ego by the associations, insisting that the demand for health workers as consultants, with payment of specialist allowance, was a self-centered agitation aimed at ensuring that they were in charge of clinical care. “This is not only an aberration (considering international best practice) that will add no value to clinical patients’ care, it will also certainly worsen morbidity and mortality indices in Nigeria. We, therefore, reaffirm the rejection of this demand,” the association said.

The doctors also rejected the planned abolition of Deputy Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (DCMAC) position, which is a creation of management boards in accordance with section 7(4) of University Teaching Hospital Act, among other demands.

“Government should take this as a further reminder of the previous notice of April 21, 2018,” it said.Meanwhile, Nigeria has recorded only 33 per cent national coverage on Routine Immunisation (RI), which is shortfall of Federal Government’s 85 per cent national target through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

Executive Director, NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, lamented the situation yesterday, saying as part of new strategies to address the current low level of national coverage of RI and poor demand for Primary Health Care (PHC) services, the NPHCDA and development partners are engaging federal civil servants to drive the campaign for integrated PHC services.
Also, as the strike continues, teaching hospitals across the country have lamented the damage the strike has had on patients and the health sector.

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