• Saturday, February 24, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Presidency, National Assembly urged to readdress funding of agencies in health sector

Presidency, National Assembly urged to readdress funding of agencies in health sector

…as JOHESU issues 15-day ultimatum to Lagos govt

Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have appealed to the presidency and National Assembly (NASS) to redirect the issue of financing the regulatory agencies in the sector before the appropriation bill is signed into law.

This is even as JOHESU and AHPA have issued Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State, a 15-day notice to go on strike to demonstrate their claimed failure of the LASG to fulfill its promises to health workers.

The demands were contained in an open letter of protest to Minister, Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning, Abuja, signed by Matthew Ajorutu, Ag. national secretary on behalf of the national chairman.

The letter fairly reads, “We wish to brief you on the decision of the Budget Office to terminate the budgetary provision to all professional regulatory councils/bodies including those in the health sector.”

According to Ajorutu, the command of the Budget Office originally affected all the professional regulatory councils including the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) which regulates Medical and Dental practice in Nigeria.

Explaining further he said: “In moves that are typical of some Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the country, only the MDCN has been cleared to continue to enjoy government funding as it has a proposed budget of N11 billion in the 2023 estimates.

“We wish to inform the Honourable Minister of an impending disaster that will confront consumers of health in Nigeria if the minister does not immediately rescind the retrogressive and damaging directive of the Budget Office,” JOHESU warned.

He regretted that non-funding of the councils makes practitioners of the different professional cadres more vulnerable to unlawful and unethical practices.

According to him, this impedes the already wretched reward system that has generated an unprecedented exodus of health professionals to foreign countries, especially the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia.

If the occurrence is not managed, he said that shortly an estimate of over 25 percent of the health practitioners in Nigeria will join the exodus for greener pastures abroad.

On the way forward, JOHESU/AHPA appealed to the immediate and direct intervention of the Minister to redress the unwholesome development that looms over the health sector which remains a critical cornerstone in the state of affairs of any country.

In a different context JOHESU has issued Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State, a 15-day demand to execute or it would go on strike to demonstrate the failure of the LASG to fulfill its promises to health workers under its employment.

According to JOHESU, the strike aimed to express the utter discontent of the national leadership over the failure of the LASG to fulfill its promises to health workers in all the state amenities.

However, JOHESU/AHPA letter reads, “We put on record the tremendous respect with which we have treated Your Excellency on these recurrent demands which were never reciprocated.

“It is a reality that the over three memos we sent to Your Excellency on these demands were never acknowledged nor responded to at any instance.

“The various acts of disrespect meted to our members were taken to an unfortunate climax in March 2023, when the immediate past Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Establishment, Olabode Mouroof Musa, declared to some of our members that all the LASG would offer them was specialist cadre and that they should realise how well-connected physicians were to the leadership hierarchy of Lagos State Government.

“We at JOHESU/AHPA have critically appraised this most unpalatable situation and resolved that if the LASG does not issue the enabling circulars for the payment of retention allowances to eligible health workers and the Consultant Cadre circular for Pharmacists which we negotiated for within the next 15 days effective from December 18, 2023, JOHESU/AHPA shall call out its members to proceed on an indefinite strike’’.