COVID-19: Minister begs as health workers threaten strike in FCT

• Says Nigeria has tested 27,078 persons, recorded 4,399 positive cases

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Monday, appealed to the health workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), who have threatened to embark on strike as from May 28, if issues in contention were not resolved.

Ehanire, while speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, appealed to the health workers, saying that this was not the right time for them to go on strike.

The health workers, under the Joint Health Sector Union and Assembly of Health Care Professionals (JOHESU) have placed the FCT Administration on strike notice.

JOHESU is the umbrella body that covers medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM); National Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAIIP) which comprises of pharmacists, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Physiotherapists and others.

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In a notice of strike sent to the Minister of FCT, JOHESU warned that “in the event that our resolution is not adhered to, on or before 28 of May, 2020, we will be left with no other option than to recall all our members currently in the frontline in the fight to curtail the spread of COVID-i9 pandemic.”

The unions said they will proceed on an indefinite strike until their demands are met.

JOHESU said many of its members are directly in the frontline of the fight again the pandemic, while others are spread all over FCT health facilities fighting against COVID-l9 at various levels.

The issues being agitated for, according to JOHESU, include irregularities in the payment of salaries since January 2020; which includes shortfalls of payment and in some cases outright omission of staff names from payment schedules.

It also includes non-payment of accrued arrears of 20l6, 20l7 and 2018 promotion and demand for the yet to be settled outstanding of skipping of CONHESS 10, including the balance of call duty relativity.

Delay in the release of conversion and proper placement which has jeopardised the career progression of their members; and non-remittance of capitation, union check-off due and third-party deduction since January, 2020.

The health minister, however, commended all health workers. Ehanire said: “I salute all health workers at the frontline, our human resources, trainers, and hands-on practitioners alike, who make care possible and the most important element of our response. Your contributions are recognised and we doff our hats to your service.”

He pointed out that Nigeria has tested a total of 27,078 for COVID-19, out of which 4,399 cases were confirmed positive as at the end of Sunday.

The minister said: “As at the end of yesterday, Nigeria has ramped up testing by 1,127 to a total of 27,078 tests, which yielded 4,399 cases in 35 States, with a gender ratio of 70 to 30 per cent for men and women. 778 persons have been discharged home and we have sadly recorded 143 fatalities, giving a case fatality rate of 3 per cent.

“The new cases breakdown is as follows: Lagos 81, Jigawa 35, Bornu 26, Kano 26, Bauchi 20, FCT 13, Edo 12, Sokoto 10, Zamfara 7, Kwara 7, Kebbi 4, Gombe 2, Taraba 2, Ekiti 2, Ogun 2, Osun a Bayelsa 1.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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