Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, has announced the government’s dedication to supporting healthcare professionals by initiating a collaborative effort with all healthcare associations across the nation.
NewsTimes learns that this commitment was emphasized during an event named “Renewed Hope for Nigeria’s Health and Social Welfare,” which took place in Abuja on a Saturday.
The event was part of a three-day Ministerial Briefing, organized by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare from September 7th to 9th, focusing on addressing the challenges and prospects within the healthcare and social welfare sector.
Pate underscored that the frequent strikes by healthcare workers in the country often stem from a combination of factors, including inadequate working conditions, low wages, salary delays, job insecurity, and ineffective leadership and management.
He said that addressing these issues was critical to preventing future strikes and improving the healthcare system in the country.
What he said
Speaking further he said,
- “The issue with the health workers going on strikes is an issue dating back so many years ago. This is linked to trust as we have met with four health workers associations and all their demands were very constructive.
- “All the health workers associations say we need to rebuild trust amongst various actors and there are some specific outstanding issues that are in the process of being resolved. Some of these issues have been resolved.
- “They are mostly issues that have to do with salaries and wages, and not necessarily issues of the ministry of health. It is between the labor ministry and us,” he explained.
The minister said that part of the vision of the ministry was to work with health workers’ associations until they get to a period of harmony.
- “We will agree on those issues that are possible and when we disagree, it will be done respectfully”.
Demands from health workers
Healthcare workers have been insisting on the swift approval and execution of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) technical committee’s recommendations and adjustments by the government.
They are also demanding immediate reimbursement for the omissions and shortfalls in COVID-19 hazard/inducement allowances for affected health workers in federal healthcare institutions.
Among their other demands are the immediate and unconditional implementation of the pharmacist consultant’s cadre, the unconditional payment of all withheld salaries for employees of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital, and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, as well as the settlement of outstanding salaries for staff members of FMC Azare for April and May 2018.
Additionally, the union is advocating for the prompt implementation of the extended retirement age for doctors, increasing it from 60 to 65 years, and extending it to 70 years for health professional consultants.