FOR allegedly showing indifference towards resolving the ongoing strike by health workers, the federal government has drawn the ire of medical laboratory scientists in the country.
Speaking under the umbrella of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), the group noted how government’s alleged indifference to resolving the issues around the strike ridiculed its determination to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and also achieve health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The President of AMLSN, Toyosi Raheem, who spoke at a lecture organized by the body in Abuja, yesterday blamed the federal government for the prolonged strike action currently being embarked upon by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
Similarly, JOHESU has urged the federal government to step up funding for the health sector by respect the 15 per cent minimum allocation to the sector as proposed by the African Heads of States under the ‘Abuja Declaration’.
Speaking on the ‘Challenges in the health sector: The way forward,’ the Raheem noted: “Our association has observed with regret, the manner in which the current crisis in the health sector is being handled by governments at all levels in Nigeria.
“Regrettably, in Nigeria, crisis and industrial actions in health sector is given little or no attention at all. This in most cases leads to avoidable loss of lives and unbearable economic burdens on the masses especially, in terms of getting alternative access to health care locally or outside the country.”
He called on government to give urgency to the resolution of the ongoing crisis in the health sector.
His words: “Patriotic Nigerians should appeal to government to urgently discuss with JOHESU members on how to find lasting solutions to the crisis. The current situation in the health sector deserves urgent national attention.”
Also speaking, President of JOHESU, Ayuba Waba, was hopeful that the crisis in the sector would soon be over.
His words: “It is common knowledge that no one profession in the sector can solely provide the integrated services required for the good health of persons and citizens at large.
“This is one area where some of us in JOHESU and other healthcare professionals do not tend to agree with our counterparts in Medical and Dental profession who appear in most cases to try to look at other workers as second class citizens or people that can best be described as hewers of wood and fetchers of water.”
He stressed: “Whether we like it or not, the issue of harmony in the health sector is very fundamental for all of us to be able to discharge our responsibilities of providing quality health services to Nigerians. Globally, no single professionals can provide services to our teaming clients without relying on the other. That is why it is important for us to continue to work as a team. Government should try to do everything possible to try to encourage team work and team spirit.
“This is because in other spheres, you have indices that can prove to the fact their health care system is doing well. You cannot differentiate between one health professional and the other. In fact, go to other spheres, from the ordinary cleaner to all the other professionals in the system, you cannot differentiate who actually in charge because they work for the common good of the system. I think this is one very important issue that as health professionals and health care providers and the managers of our various health care institutions must take on board. There is no way you can provide harmony in a system where there is no fairness, justice and equity.
“Globally, the only panacea to peace is where there is justice and fairness. Therefore, it is one important issue that has eluded us in the health sector. This is because the fact that today we are operating a two salary structure, point to the fact that it is not well. I remember in the past in most countries and even in Ghana, they operate what they call single spine salary structure and therefore, the only difference is you professional allowance.