Supervising Minister of Health, Khaliru Alhassan, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Kabiru Turaki, have appealed to the health workers under the Joint Health Sectors Unions to end their three-month-old strike and return to work in the interest of the patients and the nation. The ministers spoke through the Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Idi Aba, Abeokuta, Dr. Dapo Sotiloye, at a press conference held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Monday.
Sotiloye said the ministers had directed him to deliver their message and to educate the public on the strike. JOHESU comprises of nurses, laboratory technologists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, administration and account staff of government health institutions across the country. The union members had been on strike since November 13, 2014, asking the Federal Government to honour an agreement it reached with the National Union of Allied Healthcare Professionals since 2009. Sotiloye noted that the grievances and demands of the union members were already being addressed because they had been factored into the 2015 budget.
He said, “In consideration of various positions proposed by the different unions in order to once and for all lay to rest the conflict in the health sector and provide an environment that can allow that the suffering Nigerian be served, the President set up a very powerful committee of experts on inter-professional relationship in the public sector; to look into the issues raised by all unions in the health sector and proffer lasting solutions.
“The issue at stake has to do with welfare of the union members and it is being handled by the government but yet to be completed as this has to be factored into the 2015 budget.
“Unfortunately, the unions are eager to have the outcome immediately. We acknowledge the fact that the health sector has experienced several strikes over the years and even more so in recent times. It has now almost become a cyclical routine where health sector unions take turn to go on strike.”