Members of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals have called on the Federal Government to do a proper interpretation and implementation of the Teaching Hospital Act, saying it is the only way to end the bickering among the various professionals in the health sector. Speaking at a press conference on the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by its members since October 16, the National President of NUAHP, Dr. Felix Faniran, said there was “heavy dose of discrimination” against other health care professionals in favour of medical and dental practitioners.
Faniran said the current strike was provoked by the “refusal” of the Federal Government to implement the various court judgments delivered in favour of the NUAHP, and the various memoranda of understanding it reached with the union variously between 2006 and 2010.
He said, “Whereas issues that were generated since 2010, and for which various negotiations and collective bargaining had taken place, agreements reached and memoranda of understanding entered into by the Federal Government and NUAHP’s parent body — the Joint Health Sector Unions — the Federal Government has refused to implement these agreements.”
Recalling a court judgment the NUAHP obtained in 2006, which compelled the Federal Government to engage the union in collective bargaining to arrive at a mutually acceptable rate of call duty allowance, Faniran said the government observed the directive in the breach until March this year.
“In March, we had the opportunity to discuss the matter, following which collective agreement was reached that the call duty allowance should be made a percentage of the consolidated salary of the beneficiary.
“Up till now, the Federal Government has not released the circular to operationalise the collective agreement,” Faniran, a director of physiotherapy and medical rehabilitation said.
He called on the Federal Government to release the circular without further delay.
He said another reason for NUAHP’s ongoing strike was the refusal of the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies to pay the specialist allowance that was mutually agreed upon in 2009.
“In 2009, through mutual negotiation, it was agreed that the specialist allowance should be paid to hospital-based health care professionals who possess the requisite postgraduate qualifications and who are qualified for appointment into Consultant Grade CONHESS 13-15, as is being enjoyed by medical and dental practitioners since 2010.
“Again, we went to court in July 2013 and the court ruled in favour of NUAHP; but up till now, the Federal Government has not paid us,” He added.
The association also called on the government to issue a circular, formally stating the agreement that NUAHP members working in teaching hospitals should benefit from similar conditions of service being enjoyed by their counterparts in the university, especially as touching the issue of retirement age.
Finally, NUAHP appealed to the Federal Government to constitute the management board of the various hospitals in such a way that will prevent any health care profession from dominating others.