- Kunle Emmanuel
- Posts: 2277
- Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:02 pm
- Location: Lagos
The attention of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) has been drawn to yet another rejoinder by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), to the current JOHESU led strike action as contained in her latest Press Release titled “RE: ONGOING STRIKE ACTION BY JOHESU AND ITS EXTENSION.” We are amazed at the despondency and sheer desperation with which the NMA has pursued this issue of adjusted salary for members of JOHESU, even when the government had earlier done same for her members.
1. At a time when Nigeria’s healthcare indices are at an all time low, and indeed one of the lowest in the world, at a time when the dreaded Ebola scourge is about resurfacing close to our borders, all a supposedly elitist group like the NMA has done is to bug the government of the day with unnecessary distractions, blackmails and empty threats about bringing down the government and shutting down the health sector if the government as much as adds one naira to the salaries of non medical doctors, even when the government has increased their salary twice in the not too distant past. How demeaning! How shameful! How belittling! We wish to observe that if the NMA had expended half as much energy in tacking Nigeria’s healthcare challenges, the country would have become a centre of medical tourism like the rest of the world.
2. i. According to the NMA “In view of the above, the NMA painfully wishes to inform the Federal Government of Nigeria that any award to the non- medically qualified health professionals that violates the January and July agreements of 2014 shall result in the resumption of the suspended withdrawal of service of 2014. Please take this as a notice sir.”
ii. The NMA continued “The above reminder is predicated on the extension of the ongoing strike action embarked upon by the amorphous body called ‘JOHESU’ to states and local government areas, the basis of which is to strengthen its callous and ill motivated agitation for pay parity between her members and doctors with the resultant erosion of relativity and further hierarchical distortion in the health sector vis-à-vis her clandestine romance with some top government officials.”
Oh, is the NMA afraid? What is she afraid of? Realizing that she no longer enjoys monopoly of strike action, the NMA has suddenly become jittery and desperate and like the proverbial drowning man that will clutch at anything to survive, has started casting aspersions at “some (imaginary) top government officials.”
iii. It is public knowledge that in 2009 when late President Musa Yar ‘adua was in office, NMA clamoured for salary increase for her members as usual, but met with a rebuff from the then president, who insisted that any increase in salary would cut across all professionals in the healthcare sector, and not only medical doctors. A committee was set up to work out the modalities for the increment which resulted in the Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS). This was approved by the then president and implemented in January 2010. Medical doctors and other healthcare workers were together on CONHESS then; and there was relative peace in the sector.
Iv. By 2014, when the CONHESS was due for review, the NMA as usual went behind to lobby the then president for their separate salary scale, and ended up with CONMESS which was far more robust than CONHESS. The CONMESS was quickly approved and doctors were paid their arrears promptly. Even though an adjustment in salary was calculated for non medical doctors, it was never implemented for them till date.
v. The medical doctors had their salary increased again between 2016 and 2017, under the guise of maintaining relativity. They (doctors) were initially opposed to skipping for CONHESS, for which they argued then that it was criminal to skip any level, but JOHESU went to the National Industrial Court and won the case. The doctors suddenly changed their song and started demanding for skipping for CONMESS, which was quickly approved by the Minister of Health (himself a medical doctor) and they were paid arrears pronto, whereas many health care workers on CONHESS have not been paid their skipping allowance since 2010. This is one of the reasons JOHESU is on strike today.
vi. The fact remains that medical doctors enter the CONMESS Scale at the equivalent of GL12, which is by far higher than other healthcare professionals who enter at GL 10. That in itself is relativity. At no point in time is JOHESU asking for same pay with medical doctors as the NMA and the Honourable Minister of Health would erroneously want the world to believe. All JOHESU is asking for is salary adjustment as was done for medical doctors. What erosion of relativity is NMA talking about when they are already advantaged at entry point?
3. i. On the issue of consultancy, hear the NMA “The demand for the appointment of other health workers as consu
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