January 30, 2023

Negotiate demands of our members to stall breakdown of services, JOHESU/AHPA tells Sanwo-Olu

By Chioma Obinna

The Joint Health Sector Unions and the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals, JOHESU/AHPA, have urged the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to negotiate the demands of their members and do the needful to stall possible breakdown of healthcare services in the state.

In a letter dated 23rd January 2023 and addressed to the state governor, signed by the Acting National Secretary, Comrade Matthew Ajurotu for the National Chairman, Josiah Biobelemoye enjoined the governor that despite the fact that JOHESU/AHPA has deliberately chosen to engage LASG with a lot of decorum to enable it to deliver people-oriented programmes in the public interest, they are disappointed that the state government has not reciprocated their gesture.

Ajurotu further said: “The JOHESU/AHPA once again gives the LASG another opportunity to negotiate the demands of its members which we shall review in early February 2023 to decide whether the National Secretariat of JOHESU/AHPA directly takes over.

“As it stands today, the JOHESU/AHPA demand from the LASG include Retention allowances for all vulnerable Health Professionals especially Pharmacists, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Physiotherapists, Radiographers and others. Pharmacists under the aegis of the PSN have recently confirmed that over 5,200 Pharmacies have exited Nigeria in the last 3 years.

The PCN, its regulatory agency, confirmed in September 2022 that about 1,000 of these licenced Pharmacists who sought to practice abroad obtained Letters of Good Standing from PCN to enable them to practice Pharmacy abroad.

It is the same with all the other professions and we shall not hesitate to provide you with data on the other professions as the need arises.

“Non-implementation of full CONHESS for our members on this salary scale improved Hazard allowances for all personnel on CONHESS and implementation of Enhanced call shift and non-clinical allowances for deserving personnel.

“Immediate release of Consultant Cadre circular for eligible Pharmacists in LASG.  We put on record that while the LASG continues to play games with this demand, lesser endowed States like Edo and Ondo joined the list of State Governors already implementing the Consultant Cadre status which was initiated by Niger State Government as the pacesetter.

“Release of circular on the Directorate of Medical Laboratory Services while the LASG withdraws its biased stance of joining forces with Physicians/Pathologists at the Court of Appeal against other citizens of Lagos State who are Medical Laboratory Scientists.

“Implementation of the circular on Call Duty Allowances approved for Dental Technologists and Therapists.

“Placement of Health Service Commission Social Welfare Officers under the right salary scale.

“Granting autonomy to all Healthcare professionals in all Health facilities in Lagos State to pave way for global best practice.

The letter further reads in parts, “We bring Your Excellency glad tidings and special new year felicitations from the National Secretariat of the JOHESU/AHPA.

“The JOHESU/AHPA is forced to reach out once again to your Excellency, especially because we observe that your esteemed office did not acknowledge, respond or expedite action on our pleas to redress the anomalies associated with the conditions of service of our members in the Pharmacy and Medical Laboratory service professions which were conveyed twice in 2022.

“For the records, the twin agitation in respect of these two cadres remain: .Full implementation of the Consultant Cadre status through the issuance of an enabling circular for eligible Fellows of the West African Post-graduate College of Pharmacists.  The release of a circular on the Directorate of Medical Laboratory Services for Lagos State Government personnel.

“Our members have continued to critically appraise the inaction of Your Excellency on these key demands. We observe with concern that the LASG appears to be taking sides with interested Health professional groups because the LASG has become an active part in a pending Court of Appeal matter between Medical Laboratory Scientists and Physicians/Pathologists in Lagos State.

“In similar vein, the same forces which specialise in their acts of oppression and suppression in furtherance of a destructive politics of interest in healthcare have stalled the formal release of the Consultant Pharmacist Cadre which has been pending in the Office of the Head of Service for over one year now.

“In 2022 when the JOHESU/AHPA respectfully reached out to you, the major lament was in respect of Pharmacists and Medical Laboratory Scientists but it has now escalated to include more personnel because the physician-dominated apparatus in the health structure of the LASG continues to mobilise forces within and outside the immediate precincts of Government to inflict turmoil on all non-physician personnel in service.”