A PRESS BRIEFING BY THE NIGERIA SOCIETY OF PHYSIOTHERAPY (NSP) DELIVERED BY PRESIDENT TAIWO OYEWUMI, THE NSP NATIONAL PRESIDENT, AT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE HOSPITAL (UCH), IBADAN (ON THE 27TH OF JANUARY 2015) ON THE ON-GOING STRIKE BY NUAHP AND JOHESU FROM 16TH OCTOBER AND 12TH NOVEMBER 2014 RESPECTIVELY TILL DATE.
1. GREETINGS AND INTRODUCTION
We welcome you to this press briefing which is intended to;
a. Give an up-date on the strike embarked upon by our Society, a member of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) since 16th October 2014 and 12th November 2014 respectively till date
b. Comment on the recently signed National Health Act as well as the Yayale Ahmed Committee report submitted to Mr. President.
c. Comment on the state of the Nation.
2. WHY THIS BRIEFING BY THE NSP
The Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy is the national professional body representing physiotherapists trained around the world practicing in Nigeria. The Society has chapters in all states of the Federation and is a member of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT).
The NSP shares in the principle of WCPT that every individual is entitled to the highest possible standard of culturally appropriate healthcare provided in an atmosphere of trust and respect for dignity. The NSP as a professional body affliated to the National Union of Allied Health Professional (a member union of JOHESU) and Assembly of Health Professionals is obliged to give her views on current events.
3. THE DEMANDS
For avoidance of doubt, the following demands are the reasons the NSP joined other health professionals (apart from medical doctors) to embark on the current strike:
i. Adjustment of CONHESS salary as done for the Nigeria Medical Association in the same sector.
ii. Payment of Arrears on skipping of CONHESS 10 since year 2010.
iii. Promotion of our members from CONHESS 14 to 15 for over ten years.
iv. Appointment of our members as Chief Medical Directors.
v. Abolition of the post of Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee.
vi. Immediate circularization of retirement age of Healthcare workers from 60 to 65 years.
vii. Immediate payment of arrears of Specialist allowance to all Hospital based Healthcare Professionals who possess relevant post graduate qualification that is, MSc, PhD or post graduate fellowship who had attained the Consultant grade level 14 in the public service or CONHESS 13 in the Teaching Hospital sector and above.
4. ACTIONS TAKEN SINCE THE COMMENCEMENT OF STRIKE
Since the declaration, there has been series of meetings with the Government namely; 15th October, 2014, 9th November, 2014, 13th November, 2014, 19th November, 2014, 15th December, 2014 and 22nd December, 2014.
In all these meetings, the only progress said to be made is the decision of the Federal Government to re-calculate the financial implication of the proposed salary adjustment of workers salary on CONHESS structure as against the one they did in April, 2014.
The Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity who presided over the 22nd December 2014 meeting promised to meet the President to receive approval leading to the issuance of circular on the said matter. Of all the over 10 circulars being expected only one was issued which is on the Consultant status of other Health Professionals.
5. NATIONAL HEALTH ACT
The National Health Act which was recently signed by Mr. President is highly welcome as it makes very robust and good provision for strengthening of Primary Health Care Services in the country and recognizes the significant contributions of Physiotherapists to the healthcare system. This will translate to easy access to medical care by greater number of Nigerians. The Act also provides opportunities for Nigerians in challenging their leaders through judicial process concerning their rights to health care services and many more opportunities.
We will however like to strongly lend our voice to the call that the Honourable Minister of Health should summon, urgently, a stake holders’ forum on health to discuss the various provisions on the National Health Act and other issues affecting the health sector with a view of addressing contentious issues that currently beset the sector.
Similarly, the Act did not also provide for a Directorate of Physiotherapy Services and we therefore recommend that Federal Ministry of Health should establish a Directorate of Physiotherapy Services which will be headed by Physiotherapists.
6. YAYALE AHMED REPORT
The NSP noted the fact that most of the fundamental issues raised in the report are matters that are still pending in Court or for which various Courts of competent jurisdiction had pronounced upon. Some of the cases are pending in the Federal High Court, Awka, National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in Abuja. The NSP oppose strongly to the following proposal by the Yayale Ahmed committee.
Establishment of the office of Chief Medical Adviser to the President.
Creation of a National Healthcare Commission.
Matters Arising from Teaching Hospital Act
Headship of Teaching Hospitals
Appointment of CMAC
Appointment of Deputy CMAC
Consultancy Cadre for Eligible Health Professionals
Composition of Boards of Management for Federal Health Institutions.
Opposition to Appointment of Other Health Professionals As Directors in Federal Health Institutions
Establishment of Post-Graduate Colleges for ‘Allied Health Professionals’.
Obvious Bias against Health Professionals other than Doctors especially in the area of payment of poor hazard, call-duty and related allowances to health professionals.
7. STATE OF THE NATION
We pledge our unalloyed support for the ongoing democratic process and want to implore all participants to play by the rule of the land. We commend the government on the ongoing democratic process. We implore all Nigerians to choose the path of peace and. to eschew violence not throw the country into war. We demand for a free and fair election and that the winners should embrace all and losers take the defeat in good faith.
THAT NIGERIANS SHOULD PREVAIL ON GOVERNMENT TO HONOUR ALL HER AGREEMENTS WITH JOHESU.
THAT GOVERNMENT SHOULD COMPLETE HER NEGOTIATIONS WITH JOHESU WITH A VIEW OF ENDING THE ONGOING INDUSTRIAL ACTION IN A COUPLE OF DAYS.
PRESIDENT TAIWO OYEWUMI DR. OLUMIDE DADA
NATIONAL PRESIDENT, NSP NATIONAL PRO, NSP