All health workers in Nigeria (excluding medical doctors), under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association (AHPA) have petitioned President Muhammad Buhari over the juicy appointments doctors got in his cabinet.
The letter is quite long but worth reading.
In the letter, the health workers said doctors have reduced a supposed Federal Ministry of Health to a "Ministry of Doctor" to the detriment of other health workers--even though doctors constitute less than 5% of the workforce. They warned that the recent appointments will aggravate the volatility in the health sector instead of abating it.
They also mentioned that the appointment of a doctor (Dr. Chris Ngige) to head the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity will compound the woes of all other health workers because they would have no recourse if the Minister of Health treated them unfairly.
The health workers alleged that the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) is already reaping the expected fruits of the whirlwind of benevolent appointments.
They wrote: “On Friday, November 13, 2015 the Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Issac Adewole visited the NMA Secretariat in Abuja where he met both the Nigeria Medical Association President, Dr. Kayode Obembe and National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) President, Dr. Muhammed Askira.”
JOHESU and AHPA alleged that the Minister of Health was reported to have assured his colleagues to be patient as he would actualize these demands, which included:
*Preservation of the status quo ante in the unskewed appointments in board constitution and membership of the 55 Federal Health Institutions.
*Imposing the Yayale Ahmed Panel report, which only the NMA favours in the Health Sector. (JOHESU is seeking to quash the report at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) and said the Health Minister and Labour Minister are raising legal teams to fight them at the NICN).
*Implementing the agenda of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) through the National Health Act. The Federal Ministry of Health has already set up committees and structures made up exclusively of only Doctors as usual.
*Imposing relativity/skipping for Doctors on the Federal Health Institutions even when other health professionals who got National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) judgments in their favour since 2010 have not been paid by some Chief Medical Director (CMDs) in the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs).
*Exclusive overseas training for Medical Doctors through improved residency programmes.
*Designing new welfare schemes for Corper Doctors.
*Introduction of pension and gratuity for Resident Doctors
*Perfecting domination of Doctors in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
*Payment of Doctor-University Lecturers with the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) and privileges.
*Recognition of Doctor’s Postgraduate Fellowship over Ph.D in their careers as academics.
I agree that doctors were favoured in the recent appointments (about 5 doctors got appointed) and they were deserving. However, if other health workers got appointed, it would have gone a long way to prevent this situation.
Hopefully, PMB will find a way to resolve this issue before it snowballs into a disaster.