Health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) have issued a three-week ultimatum for the Lagos state government to improve their working comditions.
The unions made this known during a joint congress on Friday. JOHESU is the umbrella body for all health workers unions and associations.
Olatunji Tajudeen, chairman of the Lagos state chapter of JOHESU, said improved conditions of service will discourage health workers from leaving the country.
“The state government should concentrate more energy on the health sector so that people will not be travelling outside the country for treatment all the time,” NAN quoted him as saying.
“Both federal and state government hospitals should be fully equipped with tools and personal protective materials; we noticed that Nigerian health professionals abroad are doing well due to good healthcare system.
“What we are demanding for is equity in terms of welfare, number of staff and even, salary. We noticed that the disparity is becoming wider everyday; the doctors just finished their warning strike and we are not just waking to demand for our needs.
“Initially, all health workers, including doctors, planned to come together so that Lagos state government will pay more attention to the health sector. No Nigerian will say health workers are not performing well, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, but if government wants us to do more, they need to encourage us.”
He called for the implementation of their 2018 demands, which include “adjustment of the consolidated health salary structure and employment of additional health professionals”.
On his part, Rasak Falade, chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Lagos chapter, said they had written a formal letter to the state government on their grievances.
“A lot of health workers, within the state public health sector, are suffering, particularly during this COVID-19 era. We are giving the Lagos state government another three weeks ultimatum, after which JOHESU will no longer be able to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the Lagos public health sector,” Falade said.
Blessing Israel, chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Lagos chapter, emphasised the need for health insurance for medical personnel, as they lost members to COVID-19.
“Government needs to encourage all health workers because we are all important in the nation’s healthcare sector. Even, our environments are not conducive for us; many of our members live far away from their assigned workplaces which stresses them. Government needs to provide accommodation quarters for us, because nurses are the backbone of the health sector; we are always with the patients 24 hours,” she said.