*Demands outright stoppage of all forms of discriminatory, unfair practices against members

By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

THE Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals,NUAHP,has demanded immediate end to restriction of Chief Medical Director’s position in hospitals to only medical doctors, saying the positions be henceforth thrown open to all health workers to occupy.

The union also demanded outright stoppage of all forms of discriminatory and unfair practices against other health professionals “in full compliance with International Labour Organisation Convention” and “Sections 15 (2), 17 (3), and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, and other International Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination.”

NUAHP is registered by law as contained in Part C of the third schedule, Trade Unions Act, 2004, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, to represent the interest of healthcare workers in Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Dietetics, Dental Technology, Occupational Therapy, Health Information Management, Nutrition, Medical Social Work, Speech Therapy, Dental Therapy, Optometry, Clinical Psychology, Prosthetics/Orthotics, Medical Physics, Audiology,among others.

The president of the union, Dr Obinna Ogbonna, speaking in Abuja, Monday,in his national address for presentation at national,state and unit branch levels of the union on the occasion of Health Sector Reform Day 2022, insisted that the:”Appointment of Chief Medical Director should be thrown open for other health care professionals to compete and should be redesignated as Chief Executive Officer.”

The day marked every June 27,had a theme: Eliminating Professional Dichotomy and Discriminatory Practices:Panacea for Sustainable Industrial Harmony in the NIGERIA’s Health Sector.”

The union,he said,also demanded:”Outright stoppage of all forms of discriminatory and unfair practices against other health professionals in full compliance with International Labour Organisation Convention ‘Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)”, Sections 15 (2), 17 (3), and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, and other International Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination.”

Açcording to him, the “Board representation for other health care professionals should be increased from one to eight out of 14 since it is a larger group and in the majority. While the three representatives from the university should be reduced to one.”

“Chairman Medical Advisory Committee should no longer be appointed from the university but among substantive Directors/ Deputy Directors in the teaching hospital and should be in accordance with Public Service Rules of Seniority,”he added.

The union,he said, also demanded that:”Other health care professionals should have at least four directors out of eight in the Federal Ministry of Health same applicable to State Ministry of Health.”

“Government should establish schools or colleges of postgraduate studies for Clinical Residency training for other health care professionals as it exists for medical and dental practitioners,”he added.

The union equally demanded “Reconstitution of Presidential Committee on Health Sector Reform to include representatives of other healthcare professionals and health sector unions.”

Other demands, açcording to Dr Ogbonna,are:”Commencement of the payment of new hazard allowance for healthcare workers;Implementation of sections of past presidential committee reports on health sector considered to be fair to all stakeholders;Immediate implementation of circular on Pharmacist Consultant Cadre and “Approval and implementation of adjusted Consolidate Health Salary Structure,CONHESS.”

NUAHP,he said,also demanded “Payment of outstanding arrears of promotion, withheld salaries and other allowances in all federal health institutions;Payment of salary arrears and other emoluments by some state governments owing such;Payment of shortfall in the April and May 2018 withheld salaries of health workers in the federal health institutions and “Full implementation of Consolidate Health Salary Structure,CONHESS,for state health workers in states yet to do so.”

“Governments at all levels should provide adequate security for health workers against incessant kidnapping, killings and other forms of criminality health workers daily experience in the course of carrying out their essential duties,”he added.

He said his union also demanded:”Complete overhauling of public health infrastructures nationwide.”

“The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals expressly commends the National Assembly, most especially the House of Representatives, for taking a bold step towards amending the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards etc) Act Cap U15 LFN, 2004 formerly known as Decree 10 of 1985.

” It was the promulgation of this Decree in 1985 that introduced dichotomy and discrimination into the health sector.

“These unfair practices have continued to make the public health sector in Nigeria incapable of providing effective, accessible, and affordable healthcare services. It is also evidently clear that the decree was responsible for the crashing of the Nigeria’s health sector from its enviable 55th position now 187th out of 191 countries of the world by the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) ranking.

“If passed into law, the new Act will ensure that health workers/professionals with competency in hospital administration and management are appointed to manage the hospitals nationwide.

” This will ultimately guarantee effective, efficient and professional management of the hospitals in line with global best practices. This is capable of resolving various industrial relations issues which have over the years be responsible for major disharmony and trade disputes in the health sector,”he said in a the text of the briefing read to newsmen.

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