…..As health workers’ strike enters 20th day
By David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, yesterday, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, directed the hospital management to free twelve children treated of various ailments, including amputees, who were discharged but their parents and guardians could not pay their bills.
He made the gesture when he went in company with his aides and other government officials to visit a relation who was on admission at the health institution. On getting information that Governor Obiano was at the hospital, the indigent patients were said to have lined up at the entrance through which the governor went to the ward. And their calculation worked out, as he ordered for their bills to be computed and posted to his account. Director of Information at the hospital, Comrade Kris Ngige, confirmed the story.
Meanwhile, members of Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), NAUTH, Nnewi chapter, who have been on strike since March 6, 2017, insisted that they would not go back to their duty posts until the Federal Ministry of Health meets up with their demands.
In a communiqué signed by the NAUTH chapter Chairman of the union, Comrade Nwoye Charles and Comrade Ejido Bosah May, Secretary, the union accused the health ministry of issuing what it called obnoxious circulars that contradicted one another resulting in disparities and adverse implementation of allowances and entitlements of health workers in various institutions.
“Other issues like payment of call duty allowance for health information managers, dieticians and others have been agreed on, but the health ministry has not written any circular to back it up. The issue of professional autonomy and headship of departments by the university staff is a matter of common sense, civil service rule, national order and constitutional matter. Our demand for professional autonomy has received several reasonable court judgements in our favour and we do not see the justification for not executing the court judgements, among other things and the Federal Ministry of Health knows all our demands,” it added.
“We, the members of NUAHP in NAUTH, Nnewi at our congress today, March 23, 2017 declare that we are not happy with the way our patients are suffering and dying due to the withdrawal of our services. We are not ruthless, it is the Federal Ministry of Health. Your pain is our pain. Your grief is our grief.
But the issues have to be settled once and for all. We therefore, appeal to the Federal Government, well meaning Nigerians and the general public to lend their voices and compel the Federal Ministry of Health to do the right thing in order to ensure industrial peace in the health sector,” the statement concluded.