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Minister of HEALTH Isaac Adewole

Strike: We had no agreement with health workers – Minister

  • Say 2 million Nigerians down with Sickle Cell
  • As Buhari okays Traditional Medicine for malaria

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has alleged that the the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) was trying to arm twist the Federal Government into implementing a non-existing agreement.

Adewole made the claim at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, adding that the union, which began an indefinite strike across the country last week Wednesday, never had a tangible agreement with the government other than ‘minutes of meeting’ which predates the current administration.

Adewole, responding to a question on what the Federal Government was doing to halt the strike, said a high level technical committee had been constituted to look into the financial demands raised by the union

The committee had sat on Sunday at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and reconvened the meeting on Monday, but no progress was made on resolving the issues.

The meeting was scheduled to continue Wednesday night.

JOHESU says the resumption of the industrial action was predicated on alleged delay tactics and deliberate foot-dragging on the part of the Federal Government in approving the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS), similar to what was done for medical doctors’ Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) since January 2014, and also replicated with yet another approval for the same CONMESS in September, 2017 for the medical doctors.

The health workers grievances comes against the backdrop of poor access to healthcare in the country, and calls for public health reforms to counter the menace of clinical disease like Lassa fever, Ebola and monkey-pox.

The strike, which has paralyzed services in government hospitals across the country, is being spearheaded by Medical and Health Workers Unions of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAM), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Non Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutes (NASU).

Meanwhile, the minister has said about two million Nigerians are affected with sickle cell anaemia.

He further mentioned that there are plans to establish a fully functional department for traditional medicine at the Federal Ministry of Health. Adewole said, following persistent cases of malaria in the country, the Ministry was now open to exploiting traditional medicine in tackling the problem.

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Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

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