STRIKING WORKERS CRUMBLE BENUE HEALTH SECTOR

Posted: November 17, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Benue state has been without Secondary Health care delivery system for almost a year now, as all segments of health workers in the state–owned General Hospitals have since embarked on an industrial action already lasting 11 months to press for implementation of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) and the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (COMESS), which the state government has declined.

But government has evaded media comments on the lingering industrial crisis rocking the health sector.

Findings reveal that all General hospitals in the 23 local government areas of the state have been deserted as a consequence of the strike, with drugs funded through the drug revolving fund, expiring without utilization and hospital equipment wasting away.

The striking unions include, Nigerian National Association of Nurses and Midwives (NNANM), Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWU), Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) National association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists’ and the Association of Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria have all downed tools.

The trade dispute is motivated by the consistent refusal of the Benue state government to implement CONHESS and the COMESS , which the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) signed with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and state governments in 2009 to halt brain drain in the health sector.

Investigations by atiterkula also suggest that the crisis rocking the secondary health care delivery system in the state started last year and pleadings by the state commissioner for Health, Dr. Orduen
Abunku caused the suspension of the industrial action last November for two months to allow the state government resolve the issue. But they were ignored afterwards, compelling the workers to resume the
strike early this year.

Since then, government has advanced all manner of strategies to ensure negotiation with the striking workers does not hold, including contriving their own salary chart, quite different from what was
agreed and implemented nationally, and also offering the unions 74 percent in informal meetings and adopting the divide and rule strategy to destroy the collective resolve and coherence of the striking
unions.

President Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Terfa Yuham, who confirmed the strike said since the strike was declared January 10, 2011, only the HIV/AIDS clinics in the hospitals offer skeletal services to patients, on sympathy grounds since they are not supposedbreak the intake of anti-retroviral drugs, saying assuming it went on full course, a lot of deaths would have been recorded.

He pleaded with the state government to resolve the matter at stake, since health is wealth and once majority of the population cannot access health care, it becomes risky.

Yuham said a lot of drugs stocked in these hospitals have expired without utilization, adding that even if the strike is called off, government would need to re-capitalize to re-stock, saying the Governor Suswam’s administration has renovated the General hospitals and stocked them with good medical equipment and it amount to serious waste to continue to allow these structures lie fallow as it is now.
But the Benue State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abunku however declined to respond to the matter, as he failed to keep appointment

Comments
  1. Joe says:

    There should be

    Like

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