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Health Workers Begin Nationwide Strike in Nigeria

Health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Staff Unions (JOHESU) this evening declared an indefinite nationwide strike.

Nurses and midwives, pharmacists, medical technologists, senior staff of university teaching hospitals, research institutes, non-academic staff of educational institutions will be involved in the strike action.

This follows a meeting between the Joint Health Workers Union and the health ministry in Abuja which has just ended without the demands of the unions been met. The unions had given the Federal Government today as their deadline for the implementation of their demands. However, JOHESU said the issues have been lingering for more than 6 years.

Some of their demands are the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) and the need to revisit a 2001 report which was submitted to the federal government and for which no White Paper has been issued yet.

They are also asking for a conference where they want grey areas in the proposed National Health Bill sorted out, health professionals to be promoted from CONMESS 14 to 15 (which is the equivalent of Grade level 17 in the Federal Civil Service), consultancy and specialists allowances for their members who have qualified for them and allowances for shift workers.

The unions are also asking for the boards of all teaching hospitals and tertiary health institutions to be reconstituted so that their union members will have at least 8 positions on the boards.

The unions also said they are against the continued appointments of only medical doctors as ministers of health as they believed it could have implications for other professions in the industry.

This comes as the Lagos State government this afternoon sacked over 1,000 doctors in its employ who had been on strike since April 24, 2012.

The doctors have been pressing for a downward review of taxes, the full implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) and other demands.

Confirming the development, the secretary of the Medical Guild, Idris Durojaiye, said the information was passed across to the doctors through the medical directors of the various state hospitals.

“The medical directors signed the letters,” he said.
Culled from Daily Trust

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