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Healthcare workers to get enhanced hazard allowance soon — Ngige

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Chris Ngige

Workers in the Nigerian healthcare sector will begin to earn improved hazard allowance soon, according to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

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Ngige gave the assurance while speaking at the 41st Ordinary General Meeting of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in Awka on Thursday.

Ngige was represented by Dr Emmanuel Azuike, the Acting Chairman of the Chief Medical Advisory Committee at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka.

He said series of meetings had been held on the upward review of health workers’ hazard allowance and that discussions had reached an advanced stage.

The minister said that in no distance time, figures would be fixed and health workers would begin to earn higher hazard allowances.

Ngige, who is a medical doctor, commended resident doctors for their contributions to the nation’s health sector while urging them to tow the path of dialogue in resolving any industrial issue.

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“I am always open for dialogue; the president of NARD can always reach me through phone on any matter.

On his part, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, National President of NARD, called on government at all levels to fund the healthcare sector to enable it shoulder the immense demand for health services.

Okhuaihesuyi said that the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 exposed the inefficiency in the sector as public health institutions could not respond to the scourge readily due to poor infrastructure.

He recalled that no fewer than 19 NARD members died in the fight against COVID-19 while a number of them had been lost to brain drain as they moved to countries that provided better welfare and work tools.

“The pandemic dealt heavily with resident doctors having lost over 19 of our members to this scourge, but we are relieved that our service to humanity has not fallen short of our mantra and calling.

“Poor Remuneration, Poor Health Institutions has been the strong reasons for migrations and this has further weakened our resolve to stand firm for our citizens.

“This Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) provides us with the platform to X-ray our plights and shortcomings as it pertains to our welfare, it is another opportunity to extensively deliberate on all issues that bothered on quality healthcare delivery in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Dr Dubem Awachie, Chairman of the Local Organisation Committee, said the meeting commenced on Monday with visits to the state government and host institutions, Azikiwe Varsity and Ojukwu University Teaching Hospitals.

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Awachie said that no fewer than 200 delegates came from across the country while assuring that logistics had been put in place for a memorial meeting.

“Anambra is a home of hospitality, delegates are assured of comfort and security while they are here because the governor, Gov. Willie Obiano placed high premium on health, security and welfare of the people,’’ he said.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Nosa Orhue, a Consultant Public Health Physician, who spoke on the theme “Career Pathway for Doctors: Addressing the Needless Controversies and Way Forward’’.

The OGM was declared open by Obiano, who was represented by Dr Vincent Okpala, the Commissioner of Health in the state.

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