Organised labour, under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) on Wednesday staged protest over the planned privatisation of public health institutions across the country.
The five health sector unions affiliated to JOHESU are: Medical and Health Workers Unions of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated institutions (SSAUTHRIAM), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutes (NASU).
The protest took place in three locations, namely: University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada; National Hospital, Abuja and Federal Medical Centre, Jabi District, Abuja.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards displayed by the protesters read: ‘Adewale must go’; ‘No JOHESU, no hospital’; ‘Health workers say no to corruption,’ among others.
While speaking, Josiah Bioblemoye, JOHESU chairman, alleged that corrupt practices and lack of fair management in the system contributed to the crisis bedeviling the health sector.
The workers who were on a three days rally over the plight of JOHESU members, chided Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, for withholding workers’ salaries for the months of April and May 2018.
Bioblemoye threatened that all the workers would not hesitate to shut down the sector, if Federal Government fails to accede to the demands of JOHESU members.
While calling for President Buhari’s intervention, the JOHESU chairman alleged that over 90 percent of Chief Medical Directors of public institutions have their private hospitals.
He said such practice contributed to the rot in the system due to clash of interest.
“We are here today to sensitise the general public of the happenings in the health sector. We want the world to know that the Minister of Health, Professor Adewale to respect court order and release our salaries for the months of April and May.
“While the court asked both parties not to do anything that can jeopardize the peace process, the minister went ahead to implement no work no pay,” he noted.
He further urged Nigerians to hold the Minister of Health responsible if the hospitals are shutdown.