Crisis looms as health workers begin indefinite strike Tuesday

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The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) says it will begin an indefinite nationwide strike by midnight on Tuesday.

Josiah Biobelemoye, president of the union, announced this when he led the union executive on a courtesy visit to Jafaru Momoh, chief medical director of the National Hospital, Abuja.

He alleged that Isaac Adewole, minister of health, had been treating the union members as slaves.

He said the minister failed to implement the agreement reached by the union with the federal government on September 30, 2017, for upward adjustment of CONHESS.

Biobelemoye said the implementation of the agreement was supposed to begin five weeks after it was signed “as was done for medical doctors”.

He said JOHESU accounted for 95 percent of health sector workers in the country but regretted that the union’s demands were always taken for granted.

“We are committed to ensuring peace in the sector hence for the past three years we resisted strike but we should not be forced to withdraw the peace,” he said.

“Help us to tell government. All we are saying is equity, justice and peace.

“We love Nigerians and government should help us love Nigerians the more by doing the needful.”

Patricia Etteh, chairman, board of National Hospital, Abuja, appealed to union officials to shelve its proposed strike in the interest of the people.

Etteh urged the union to consider the plight of the masses, who always suffered more during such actions in the health sector.

“In the event of strike in the health sector, the poor always bear the burden as they cannot afford access to healthcare in private hospitals in Nigeria and abroad,” she said.

“But the rich will not mind as a lot of them travel abroad to receive the desired healthcare services. There so many ways you can embark on strike without shutting down hospitals because the masses will suffer.

“I plead with you to give me sometime to dialogue with the concerned ministry with regard to your demand for upward adjustment of CONHESS and other issues.

“I believe before the close of work tomorrow (Tuesday), through the concerted efforts of all and sundry, something positive will come out from my dialogue with the Minister of Health and others.”

The CMD also pleaded with the union not to withdraw emergency services in hospitals in the event of any strike.

He assured the union members that their issues would be resolved in the shortest possible time “through divine interventions”.

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