By Fabian Anawo
The Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU and the Assembly of Health Professional Association, AHPA are planning to embark on strike.
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, they said that they would embark on strike before the presidential election if government continue to treat their grouse with levity.
They accused the Ministry of Health of insensitivity and double standards in handling the CONHESS adjustment and other demands affecting JOHESU/AHPA members, alleging that the salaries of physicians has been reviewed upward thrice,leaving that of other health professionals.
JOHESU/AHPA, therefore called on the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, to come up with Schemes of Service for the cadre of all Health Professionals who have received approvals of the National University Commission for new curriculums and those that have received the approval of the OHCSF for Consultant Cadre.
They also want the Ministry to push for the implementation of new Retirement Age for health workers to sixty-five years and that of Health Professionals Consultants to seventy years to stem the tide of the unprecedented brain drain in the Health Sector.
Both bodies pleaded with the presidency to release funds for the payment of withheld salaries of JOHESU members in some federal facilities, payment of omitted inducement and hazard allowances outstanding from 2022.
They demanded to be part of the ongoing Job Evaluation Committee in Federal Health Institutions in line with the 2019 consent judgment of the National Industrial Court, Abuja.
Also, JOHESU/AHPA is pushing for the Implementation of Consultant Cadre for Pharmacists in the Public Service which was first approved by the National Council on Establishment, NCE, in 2011.
The Unions alleged that there were several attempts to sabotage the approval until the office of the Head of Service of the Federation confirmed to the Federal Ministry of Health, FMoH, on March 6, 2020 in a letter ref no. HCSF/SPSO/ODD/NCE/CND.100/S.8/39 that the NCE had approved Pharmacist Consultant Cadre.
The FMoH referred to the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, NSIWC, in a letter of May 13, 2020 ref no. C.400/11/217/T/21 to develop the appropriate benefit package based on the memo from the HOSOF, to which the NSIWC responded to FMoH via a letter on June 17, 2020 ref no. SWC/S/04/S.218/T//9. In the letter, the NSWIC stated that “the salary structure of Medical Professionals including Consultant Pharmacists have since been developed and concluded its letter by stating that “Consultant Pharmacists are entitled to be paid relevant allowances including Specialist Allowances as contained in Circular No. SWC/S/04/S.410/Vol 11/349 dated 8th December, 2009.
In view of the fact that due process had been met, the OHCSF on September 13, 2020 finally released the circular ref no. HCSF/CSO/HRM/1274/T3 for the Pharmacists Consultant Cadre. The immediate past Permanent Secretary of the FMoH on March 18, 2021 issued an internal circular to all Heads of Departments, FHIs, Agencies/Parastatals and Regulatory Bodies directing immediate implementation of the approved scheme by the OHSOF.
They alleged that only a few Federal Health Institutions (less than 5) that have implemented the Consultant Cadre.