Press Conference Addressed by Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA)

On 14/Sep/2017 / In Press Publications

Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you all to this press conference which is intended to inform Nigerians of our intention to down tools as from the midnight of wednesday 20th September 2017 if all our demands over which we have been negotiating since 2012 were not met On the 10th May 2012 agreements were reached on issues concerning our members
Issues upon which we could not agree were referred to the NICN. We were in court till August 2013 when judgement was given in favour of JOHESU on skipping of CONHESS 10. As we speak, the federal governmenthas not paid arrears of the skipping arrears to our members wheras the Resident Doctor who were neither a party to the case or are on CONHESS insisted they should skip on CONMESS and arrears paid to them while the original beneficiaries are not paid. The federal ministry ofhealth has been frustrating the implementation of the court judgements by introducing same scale promotion for instance when members are promoted from CONHESS 9 to 11 at subsequent promotions they will be promoted from CONHESS 11 TO CONHESS 11. This is totally unacceptable
Efforts made through several committees to get the agreements reached Implemented were frustrated often by the Federal Ministry of Health who Is always protecting the Interest of the Medical Doctors. 
In 2013, the AM. Goni Ap (Former HOCS, Committee was set up to sea to the implementation of agreements reached with JOHESU but the committee coultf not achieve which necessitated the setting up of the High Level Body head. by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, His Excellency, Ayen Pius Aymi, GCON. The committee worked between January and August, 2014 and when it was realised that even agreement reached at that level was not implemented, JOHESU went on strike from December 2014 to February, 2015 when the then President, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR intervened and appealed that because of the 2015 election coming up then, we should give him time to positively look into our demands after the election. 
As a mark of respect for the new administration of Buhari we waited till early 2016 when the late James Ocholi, SAN (Minister of State, Labour) held series of meetings with us till his sudden demise. We gave several ultimatum thereafter and the last was the one dated 11th August, 2017 giving 30days for the government to resolve the Issues. 
By a letter dated 11. September, 2017, Ref. No. DHS/821/VOL.11/82 received on 11th September, 2017 the Hon. Minister of Health called JOHESU for a meeting for 2.00pm of Tuesday 12th September, 2017 in the Hon. Minister's Conference Room, FMOH, Abuja, Despite the short notice, we were there and waited till 3.30pm and when the Hon. Minister FMOH was not ready for us, we left for another meeting. 
The Issues are: 
I) Adjustment of CONHESS salary as done for CONMESS since January 2014. 
2. Abolition of scale to scale promotion 
3. Payment of outstanding arrears promotion, skipping and relativity. 
4. Autonomy for teaching and specialist hospitals in the country and
5. Implementation of all Court judgments. 
6. Review of retirement age from 60 - 65 years as done for the Tertiary Education Sector. 
Let me expantiate on the issue of Autonomy for Teaching and Specialist Hospitals in the couantry, as this affects service delivery to the citizens of Nigeria and is partly responsible for the Medical tourism we are witnessing in the country. 
The Teaching Hospitals Act gave autonomy to the various Tertiary hospitals as they have their separate Boards of Management different from the governing councils of the Universities. 
However, rather than the CEOs, the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), the Deputy CMAC and all Clinical heads being full time employees of the Teaching Hospitals, they are appointed from the Honourary Consultants from the universities who are full time staff of the Universities some of them also have private hospitals and are therefore not committed to the growth of the hospitals as a Servant cannot serve two masters at the same time hence most of the works in the hospitals are carried out by the Resident Doctors who are Postgraduate Medical Students. 
The Hon. Minister of Health should be asked: Why is it that when (Resident Doctors) are on their illegal strike actions (net being a Labour Union) the hospital services suffer when the consultants who are their teachers are on ground. If they are full time hospital staff the hospital will not be grounded. 
Also, if Resident Doctors are full time pensionable staff on in-service training they will be more committed to service. The blanket memorandum of understanding confirming Resident Doctors as pensionable staff is misleading, faulty and will cause more problems for our teaching hospitals than solving them. The management structure of the Teaching/Specialist hospitals should be re-organised to bring effectweness to the services rendered in the hospitals and reduce to bear. Minimum medical tourism. 
In conclusion, we are therefore left with no option than to give a final 7 days uitimatum with effect from Thursday 14th, September, 2017 and if by the midnight of Wednesday, 20th September, 2017 our demands are not met, all our members nationwide are called upon to embark on indefinite total strike action. 
Signed: Com Biobelemoye Josiah National Chairman JOHESU
Com Ekpebor Florence, National Secretary, JOHESU

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