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Allied Health Professionals Declare Strike

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By: Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) on Monday declared a nationwide indefinite strike alleging government’s insensitive to the plight of members “since 2009 after the Union had reached a collectively bargained agreement with the Government.”
The NUAHP is made up of Physiotherapists, Dietitians, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Radiographers, Optometrists, Pharmacists, Dental Therapists, Dental Technologists, Medical Phisicists, Health Information Officers, Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Medical Social workers and others.
Addressing journalists at a press conference held at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan on Monday, the National President of NUAHP, Dr. Ogbonna Obinna Chimeola maintained that “the indefinite strike action which kicked off at 12 a.m. on Monday, March 6, 2017, had become inevitable as the Federal Government had neither seen any reason to address the issues in contention positively nor communicate to the union the resolutions of the high-powered meeting held last month at the instance of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
“The union had waited patiently and had shown enough restraints and had exhausted all other industrial means because of the poor Nigerian masses who will suffer when we withdraw our services from the Health facilities nationwide.  We have been pushed to the wall and this strike is inevitable,” the NUAHP President said.
While regretting the inconveniences or avoidable sufferings and deaths that may arise as a result of the indefinite strike action, he insisted that “the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Health are to blame,” just as he enjoined members “to be on red alert for further directives”.
According to the NUAHP President, issues under contention of which the union and the government had reached a collectively bargained agreement since 2009, but which are yet to be implemented include lack of consumables to treat patients in the hospitals; lack of basic working equipment for diagnosis and treatment of patients; structural defect and corruption at the Federal Ministry of Health and other health facilities; Flagrant disobedience of Court Judgements by FMOH/CMDs/MDs at various Tertiary Health Institutions; Shortage of manpower in various professions; Skipping of CONHESS 10 and payment of arrears in compliance with National Industrial Court of Nigeria judgement of July 22nd 2013; adjustment of the CONHESS Salary structure since 2014; stagnation referred to as promotion exercise.
He listed the others as comprising appointment of Consultants and payment of Specialist allowance; Enhanced Entry Point (EEP), for Medical Laboratory Scientists and radiographers; Preferential treatment of Medical Practitioners in the Health Sector and neglect of other Healthcare professionals; Headship of Departments/Units by University based staff instead of the Hospital based staff; Wrong interpretation of extant laws on the appointment of Chief Medical Directors (CMDs)/Medical Directors (MDs) of tertiary Hospitals; Abolition of the position of Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (DCMAC), which is not an establishment position; Report of the Inter-Ministerial sub-committee on critical matters in the Health sector; Professional autonomy for Medical laboratory Scientists, Optometrists, Radiographers, etc.; Residency training for other Healthcare Professionals; Implementation of National Health Act; Discriminatory circulars from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and FMOH as it affect Medical Laboratory Scientists vis a vis the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science and their Association Certificates for promotion exercise, with special attention to UCH, Ibadan and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, among other institutions; Frequent Police brutality in various Health facilities in recent time over peaceful protests (e.g. JUTH, Jos, FMC Owerri, to mention a few); Retirement Age; Irregular payment of Pension and Gratuity Arrears to retired members leading to hardship and untimely deaths of many of them; Heavy Taxation of members in a dwindling economy; etc.
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