Wednesday, 2 December 2015

JOHESU/AHPA fault Buhari on health ministerial appointments

...Demands for appointment of their member as Special Adviser on Health

Health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have faulted the appointment of only medical doctors into key positions in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) by President Mohammed Buhari.

In a letter by JOHESU titled, “Appraising Appointments in the Federal Ministry of Health addressed to the President, which was obtained by Newswatch Times, the group alleged that the appointments are ‘lopsided’ and would aggravate the already volatile health sector.

They further complained that the appointment of two medical doctors as Ministers of Health was the same arrangement under the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan, which the group allegedly attributed to have caused unprecedented dislocation of the component elements of the sector.

JOHESU/AHPA bemoaned that the only difference which was in their favour in what they labeled as ‘Old Jonathan Order’ was that administrators or non-care providers were always appointed as Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health.

However, the group in a letter which was co-signed by the Chairman, JOHESU, Comrade Jay Josiah and Chairman, AHPA, Dr. Godswill C. Okara, further lamented that position of Permanent Secretary has also been ceded to doctors.

The letter stated: “Your Excellency, the appointment of two Medical Doctors as Ministers in Charge of the Federal Ministry of Health equaled the precedence of former President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, which unfortunately catalyzed unprecedented dislocation of the component elements of the Health Sector in that dispensation.

National President/Chairman, JOHESU and Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, Comrade Biobelemoye Joy Josaiah (left); President Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Olumide Akintayo; Chairman, Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA), Dr. Godswill C. Okara and Secretary General, Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, Omokhuale I. Marcus at the Joint Health Sector Unions media briefing in Lagos, recently. 
Expressing their disappointment JOHESU/AHPA said: “The only ameliorating balm in that discourse (the Old Jonathan Order) was that the Permanent Secretary in Charge of the Federal Ministry of Health was always administrators or non-care providers. Today even that has been taken away because the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health is also a traditional strong advocate of the interests of only her medical doctor colleagues from her time as a Permanent Secretary in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

“To compound the woes of all other health workers apart from Doctors which we represent, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity which ordinarily should arbitrate over our welfare demands which the hegemony of Doctors over-bearing leadership truncates at the Federal Ministry of Health is now being headed by yet another Medical Doctor, Dr. Chris Ngige. The obvious fallout of this dangerous but unprecedented structure against the professional destinies of all health workers apart from Doctors can be summarized in the reflected phraseology-calamitous future expectations.”

“For a health sector where doctors hitherto reduced a supposed Federal Ministry of Health to a Ministry of Doctor to now be officially and legitimized as home to only doctors who constitute less than five per cent of the workforce at the detriment of the majority of over 95 per cent in our humble opinion Your Excellency, appears to epitomise neglects of the feelings of the gross majority of health workers and will aggravate the volatility in the sector instead of abating it,” their letter added.

The group also lamented that the woes of all other health workers apart from doctors is compounded by the fact that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity which ordinarily should arbitrate over its welfare demands is now headed by a Medical Doctor, Dr. Chris Ngige.

While noting that the development portends dangerous consequences against the professional destinies of all health workers apart from doctors, the group predicted what it described as ‘calamitous future expectations’ for members of JOHESU/AHPA.

The obvious fallout of this dangerous but unprecedented structure against the professional destinies of all health workers apart from doctors can be summarized in the reflected phraseology-calamitous future expectations.

They, therefore, demand a balancing the various appointments already made at the Federal Ministry of Health by appointing healthcare providers of diverse background within the rank and file of its members as Special Adviser/Special Assistant on Health to the President, in the interest of enduring peace in the health Sector.

They also demand an immediate approval of the adjustment of the CONHESS scale as was done with CONMESS scale since year January 2014 to pave way for implementation based on approvals in the 2016 budget.

The letter said: “We now respectfully request Your Excellency to look into our prayers which include: An urgent need to balance the various appointments already made at the Federal Ministry of Health in the interest of enduring peace in the Health Sector.

The letter further said there is “dire need to appoint healthcare providers of diverse background within the rank and file of our members as Special Adviser on Health to the President, Senior Special Assistant on Health in addition to lawful appointments of our members who should head some of the key parastatals in the health sector based on existing condition precedents in the relevant statutes.”

It demanded: “An immediate approval of the adjustment of the CONHESS scale as was done with CONMESS scale since year January 2014 to pave way for implementation based on approvals in the 2016 budget. This must be in addition to other welfare demands of JOHESU members.”

President Buhari had recently appointed Prof. Isaac Adewole, as the Hon. Minister of Health, and Dr Osagie Ebanire as Minister of State for Health and Dr Amina Shamaki as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on November 26, 2015. 

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