The striking Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) Friday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to personally intervene in the ongoing industrial action it embarked upon to press home its demands bordering on allowances and welfare.
The National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Ogbonna Chimela, made the appeal, while fielding questions from State House correspondents at the old Banquet Hall of the presidential villa, Abuja.
Chimela, who is also the National President of Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), said the President’s intervention became necessary following the deadlock of Thursday’s meeting between the union and the officials of the Federal Ministry of Health, as there was no common ground reached to resolve the crisis.
According to him, President Buhari’s intervention has become necessary to avert possible collapse of the nation’s health system, adding that the president was not being given the correct information as regards the situation in the health sector.
He said, “From our investigation and from what we know now, we have discovered that our President, Muhammadu Buhari has not been well informed of the happenings in the health sector, is like some information are being blanketed; not getting to him because we know who he is.
“He is a sincere man who has the love of an average Nigerian at heart.
“We know that he is humane and he cannot tore with the lives of Nigerians if he is well aware of this present situation in the health sector we know he would go direct in arresting the issue and resolve it.
“So, we are calling on Mr President to quickly intervene in this matter because JOHESU and its members are not strike mongers, we don’t love strike.”
Chimela regretted that the nation’s public health institutions were in shambles, saying that JOHESU members would have loved to go back to their respective places of work to take care of the suffering patients across the country.
He, however, called for equity not equality, fairness and justice to be melted out to all health care givers so as to ensure stability in the health sector.
He frowned at the statement issued by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Thursday threatening to resume its suspended strike should the Federal Government accede to the demands of the striking health workers under the auspices of the JOHESU.
Also speaking, the National Chairman of JOHESU, Biobebelemoye Josiah, accused the NMA of assisting the federal ministry of health in frustrating the attempt to resolve the ongoing strike by the union.
On the reported resurgence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Republic of Congo and the subsequent directive on the need to check the spread of the disease into Nigeria, Josiah said JOHESU should not be blamed for possible lapses in the effective implementation of this directive.
He said that due to the ongoing strike members of JOHESU may not participate in the surveillance activities at the airports and borders across the country.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had on Wednesday directed the Federal Ministry of Health to step up surveillance activities against Ebola in the country.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, had to reporters on Wednesday that negotiations were on over the strike embarked upon by members of JOHESU.
He said, “Negotiations are still on with JOHESU and the Minister of Labour is leading the negotiation and we expect that we will conclude on all issues very soon.”