THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government and the state governors to, as a matter of urgency, invest in healthcare.
President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba made the urgent call during an event organized to mark the 2020 Global Day of Action on Care. On behalf of all Nigerian workers, Wabba begged the government at all tiers of governance to invest heavily in healthcare.
The Global Day of Action on Care, is marked as a special day to honour care workers across the globe. The theme for this year was, ‘Invest in Care Now.’
According to Wabba, “this year’s Day of Action on Care is coming at a most auspicious time as the world undergoes a very challenging period occasioned by the sudden outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, which has caused a pandemic of scary dimensions across the world; endangering everyone on earth, with care workers and other frontline health personnel encountering more serious risks.”
He pointed out that the theme for this year’s event is apt as it highlights the urgent need for massive investment in the care sector.
He said: “COVID-19 has fully exposed several countries, including Nigeria as not having invested enough in our health care institutions, putting everyone, both rich and poor at high risks.”
He said the theme is to drum up demands for heavy investments in the care sector by our government and big businesses, if we must keep a healthy society and productive human resource base.
The NLC president said: “Apart from the open fact that our health care sector has been neglected for too long, health care workers have been subjected to unfair treatment for too long. Essential workers as they are often called at crisis times, do not have the necessary personal protective equipment to work with, especially before the outbreak of COVID-19.
“Government waited for the pandemic before it woke up to the reality of the decadence in our health care sector. Even now, enough has not been done to properly equip the sector and properly kit health workers across the country.
“With the massive resources at our government’s disposal, Nigeria can afford to build and effectively equip some of the best hospitals in the world, with global best practices and personnel. But successive governments failed to take health care as a top priority beyond mere policy statements.”
He also called on the Federal Government to pay the two months salaries owed health workers arising from an industrial dispute in 2018.
He regretted that the recent seven-day warning strike by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) to resolve the outstanding issues is yet to receive the attention of Government and a social dialogue meeting on this matter is yet to be convened.
“We also demand a quick conclusion on negotiations on salary adjustment for JOHESU members in line with alternative dispute resolution processes of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, which all parties involved in the negotiation were subjected to,” Wabba said.
He added: “We believe now is the time for our government at all levels to demonstrate more than keen attention on the health sector. The current pandemic has shown how important health care is to all sectors and citizens of any country.”
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