The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), has urged the incoming government to review selection of ministers and chief executives in the sector which will in turn resolve the challenges confronting the segment.
This was contained in a statement signed by JOHESU acting national secretary, Matthew Ajorutu, for Biobelemoye Josiah, its national chairman.
The health organisation in the statement bemoaned the healthcare sector Ministries Departments, and Agencies (MDAs),currently administered by the physicians, adding that they are rotting away.
The release reads in part: “In the current dispensation, the reality in our country is that we need far and wide-reaching reforms to generate new building blocks for sustainable development in all frontiers of our collapsing social fabrics.
“Our health sector has been progressively destroyed in the last three dispensations of leadership with special regards to ministerial appointments at the federal ministry of health since 2011 to date.
“Today, the health system in Nigeria which is rated 187th out of 191 health systems by the World Health Organisation (WHO) through the machinations of the leadership of physicians stands no chance of redemption. This would be possible if the President-elect comes up with a unique model of reforms which places a premium on change-agents who are not necessarily health workers to redress the pestiferous propensities in the heavily infested health system of our country as presently nurtured by physicians at the ministerial parastatals and other agencies of the federal ministry of health.
“In a larger bid to redress the huge ills in the health sector, the JOHESU/AHPA wishes to facilitate the reform agenda of the President-elect by proposing the reflected charter of demand to the incoming administration.”
On the other hand, JOHESU kicked against deficiencies of the University Teaching Hospital Act cap 436, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.
It also condemned the discriminatory salaries and wages in the health sector and imbalances in the directorate structure of the federal ministry of health.
JOHESU further frowned at other irregularities in the healthcare industry, including discriminatory salaries and wages in the sector, imbalances in the directorate structure of the federal ministry of health, and non-adherence to the norms of the Drugs Revolving Funds (DRF).
The health organisation also called for proper implementation of the National Health Insurance Authority, Act 2022 and lamented the poor implementation of interventionist health agencies.
While acknowledging the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, JOHESU pleaded with him to address challenges facing the public health sector in Nigeria.
The union said: “The tertiary health sub-sector should be upgraded to enable it to carry out the function of providing healthcare, producing skilled personnel, and carrying out research that can add social and economic value to Nigeria.
“The National Health Insurance coverage needs to be overhauled first to expand the coverage to capture more people especially women in the informal sector and all retirees above the age of 60 years should continue to have access to the NHIS. We demand that quality healthcare delivery be legislated as a right of citizens and not an exclusive preserve of the rich.
“We align with the constitutional provision that the fundamental responsibility of government is the welfare of its citizens, and for us, the core of that welfare is in the quality of health enjoyed by the citizens.
“We believe that Nigeria is endowed with sufficient resources to adequately fund the health sector, which must be seen to be affordable, accessible, and available from the rhetoric of the policy texts.’’
JOHESU also demand that the government’s presence in the health sector should be seen as a social responsibility towards its citizens to aim at reducing poverty and inequality.
They also demand that government increases funding to the health sector to at least 15 percent as prescribed in the Abuja Declaration on Health starting with an annual increment of two percent.
The increased funding, the union said should specifically target training and skilled personnel development; health information; medicine and technology.