Senate begs JOHESU to end strike over fresh Ebola outbreak
The Senate yesterday pleaded with the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) to call off the strike it embarked upon over three weeks ago, which has affected the health sector across the country.
JOHESU had on April 18, embarked on industrial action due to what it described as the insensitivity and lackadaisical attitude of drivers of the health sector.
Senate’s resolution was sequel to a motion on Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Need to Take Precautionary Measures by Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos) during plenary.
The upper chamber also urged the Minister of Interior to take necessary steps to check immigration and urged the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to ensure alertness to combat whatever cases that might arise and get Ebola vaccines ready for an emergency.
Tinubu recalled that an infected immigrant, Patrick Sawyer, who arrived Nigeria in July 23, 2014, was notable for being the index case for the introduction of Ebola virus into Nigeria.
Tinubu, who is Chairman, Senate Committee on the Environment said the tide, as at then, was stemmed by government’s quick response.
She said that recent reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO), showed that the disease was back in neighboring Congo with 19 deaths and 39 infected casualties recorded so far.
In his response, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said all stakeholders should ensure that adequate steps were taken to forestall any occurrence.
Adewole cautioned that striking JOHESU has no constitutional right to harass other health workers not on strike or lock up government facilities.
He gave the caution in a statement issued by Deputy Director, Media and Public Relations of the ministry, Oshundun Olajide, yesterday in Abuja.
Olajide said the minister said this while reacting to a news briefing by the President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Ugochukwu Chinaka.
He noted that the resident doctors accused JOHESU members of harassing and molesting members of NARD and other medical officers at their respective duty posts.
However, there seem to be no end in sight for the ongoing strike, as JOHESU has accused Adewole and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, of taking sides with their colleagues in the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to prevent government from meeting their demands.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the health and technology sectors have urged the federal and state governments to prioritise funding of the health sector, which they said, needed urgent intervention.
Speaking at a roundtable on The state of Healthcare in Nigeria, organised by Philips Africa and Forbes Africa in Lagos, they lamented the low level of attention given to the health sector, which they said, has received little funding.
Chairman, KPMG West Africa, Kunle Elebute, who addressed the challenges in the health sector, said the system, was underserved and under-consumed, noting that the country’s health indicators left much to be desired.
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