By Chioma Obinna
The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, NUAHP, wants life insurance scheme and immediate payment of N100, 000 special COVID-19 allowances to all health workers at the frontline of the war against the disease as presently done to other health workers globally.
Making the demand in a statement jointly signed by the President, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna and General Secretary, Comrade Martin Adekunle Egbanubi, the Union urged the Federal Government to commence a life insurance scheme for all health workers to further encourage them to remain devoted to save the rest of the populace from the pandemic.
NUAHP also noted that the high risk of infection faced by health workers warrants an upward review of hazard allowance for health workers from N5, 000 to N100,000.
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“With the President’s pronouncement of the total lockdown of Abuja and Lagos including Ogun state, we demand that Federal Government work out modalities to ensure that health workers in those areas are provided with adequate support to enhance human logistics and other support systems.
“We also demand the provision of more Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs, and free medication for all health workers at the frontline of the war against the pandemic.”
They added that the government should pay withheld salaries of April and May 2018 to health workers in Federal Health Institutions, adding that the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) adjustment and 30th September 2017 agreement should be effected.
Further, the Union urged the federal and state governments to provide adequate isolation centers, ventilators, testing kits and other necessary equipment that would allow health workers to be fully functional nationwide.
“It is absolutely imperative for the Federal Government to encourage and motivate health workers through immediate implementation of these demands,” NUAHP stated.
The Union called for setting up of a committee comprising representatives of health workers’ unions, government, organised private sector and civil society organisations to oversee all donated equipment and funds.
“Hence, EFCC/ICPC should ensure that all private health facilities and institutions acquired illegally and at the expense of public health institutions should be immediately impounded and converted accordingly as part of measures to address this national emergency imposed on us by COVID – 19 pandemic.”
The Union also regretted that the outbreak of coronavirus has exposed the inadequacy and poor state of the country’s health infrastructures at all levels.
“We suggest the establishment of the National Health Institutions Trust Fund, NHITFUND, similar to Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND. All funds donated during this period should be used as a take-off. Trade unions in the health industry should be part of the formation, implementation, and monitoring of the scheme.”