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General News of Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Source: www.premiumtimesng.com

Union seeks end to alleged discrimination, dichotomy in Nigeria’s health sector

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The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) has appealed to the Nigerian government to halt all forms of discriminatory and unfair practices against other health professionals in the country.

The union in a statement issued and signed by its president, Obinna Ogbonna, to commemorate the 2022 Health Sector Reform Day, said there is an ongoing dichotomy in the sector in the country.

The dichotomy, NUAHP said, has bred several forms of injustices over the years.

Mr Ogbonna said the union has repeatedly engaged relevant health authorities on issues bordering on professional dichotomy, discrimination, and other forms of injustice.

He, however, said these acts continue unabated to date due to what he termed “some notable gaps in health institutions’ establishment and management of extant laws, preferential treatment of physicians over other health care professionals, and many other factors.”

“Undoubtedly, these unfair practices against other health care workers have been responsible for most trade disputes leading to industrial unrest and work stoppages over the years,” he said.

Health sector reform day Mr Ogbonna said June 27, every year, is set aside by the union as Health Sector Reform Day, as contained in its constitution.

He said it is a day to draw the attention of social partners, especially the government, to the state of the health sector in Nigeria and the working conditions of members of the union and health workers generally.

The theme for this year’s day is; “Eliminating Professional Dichotomy and Discriminatory Practices; Panacea for Sustainable Industrial Harmony in Nigeria’s Healthcare Sector.”

The president said the theme was carefully chosen due to the perennial discriminatory practices in the sector.

Demands In the statement, the union listed its 17 demands from the government and health authorities.

The union said the appointment of chief medical directors should be thrown open for other health care professionals to compete, and that the position shouldn’t be for medical doctors only.

“Board representation for other health care professionals should be increased from one to eight out of 14 since it is a larger group and in the majority. While the three representatives from the university should be reduced to one.

“Chairman Medical Advisory Committee should no longer be appointed from the University but among substantive directors or deputy directors in the teaching hospital and should be in accordance with public service rules of seniority.

“Other health care professionals should have at least four directors out of eight in the ministry,” it said.

The union also demanded that the government should establish schools or colleges of postgraduate studies for clinical residency training for other health care professionals as it exists for medical and dental practitioners.

The union said healthcare workers are yet to receive the new hazard allowance and therefore urged the government to look into it and also pay outstanding arrears of promotion, withheld salaries and other allowances in all federal health institutions.

“Payment of salary arrears and other emoluments by some state governments that are owing to such, and payment of shortfall in April and May 2018 withheld salaries of health workers in the federal health institutions,” it said.

About NUAHP

NUAHP is a coalition of other categories of health workers apart from medical doctors and nurses.

It is made up of professionals across clinical sections such as pharmacists, physiotherapists, laboratory scientists, radiographers or imaging scientists, dental technologists, and other related professionals.