The Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy (NSP), the umbrella professional body of Physiotherapists practicing in Nigeria since 1959, wishes to draw the attention of the Federal Govenrment to the State of our health institutions and the injustice in the system that paved way for the on-going strike action by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) in the hospitals.
None implementation of past agreements and court judgments and neglected welfare issues of health workers as against an anomaly where only Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) members are taken care of since 2014 and enjoying specialized packages in form of CONMESS while JOHESU demands are ignored played significant roles in the situation we found ourselves.
The existing situation where only NMA members receive special treatment from the Federal Government through Federal Ministry of Health is unacceptable to us and we want to use this avenue to appeal to the Federal Government to look into the current imbroglio and bring succour to the affected health workers by putting an end to the hegemonic situation once and for all for peace and harmony to reign in our hospitals.
The practice of Federal Government giving preferential treatment to NMA members working under the jurisdictions of Federal Ministry of Health over all other health professionals started in 1991 with the introduction of special Medical Salary Scale (MSS) and Medical Super Salary Scale (MSSS) for medical doctors alone without consideration for other professionals working in the health sector.
The action of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health again in 2014 to adjust the CONMESS Salary of Medical Doctors alone and subsequent implementation and payments of ALL accrued arrears by the Federal Ministry of Health under this administration is a continuation of the act of carrying out government affairs in a manner which fails to recognise the diversity of different professionals working under the jurisdictions of Federal Ministry of Health by giving preferential treatment to Medical Doctors alone in the conduct of its activities.
This is against the provision of Section 13 and 14 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. RELATIVITY It is necessary to state clearly that relativity has been granted to Medical Doctors when a fresh post NYSC Medical Doctor is allowed to enter the civil service on GL 12 while all other health professionals enter the civil service on GL 10 and below.
The implication is that it will take years of practice for any other health care professional to attain GL12 where a fresh post NYSC medical doctor starts his/her career. It must be noted that salary of a fresh post NYSC Medical Doctor is higher than the salary of principal officers of all other health professionals. Relativity has also been granted to Medical Doctors after residency because they are allowed to enter the civil service on GL 14 which is equivalent to the position of Assistant Director for other health professionals. It takes other health professionals nothing less than 12-18 years in civil service to attain GL 14.
Another relativity is tantamount to double relativity and this will not just be a bad precedence in health sector but every other sector in the federal civil service. International best practices make use of creation of entry level to determine relativity and not creation of new salary structure just in the name of relativity.
What is parity? It simply means what you do to one side, you should do same to the other side of an equation. For instance if Government increases the salary of NMA members by X percentage, it should do same to the salary of the other workers in the same sector. This is also the principle of social justice.
Therefore, JOHESU's demand for same percentage increase in salary on CONHESS as it was done for COMESS is right and justified. Our demands are sincere and with the interest of Physiotherapy profession, other health professions in JOHESU and the Nigerian public as stated below.
1) Approve and Circularize Upward review of CONHESS Salary Structure
2) Payment of backlog of arrears as a result of CONHESS 10 Skipping.
3) Employment of more staff to strengthen the health sector
4) Release of Circulars for review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years
5) Implementation of NICN judgments in favour of JOHESU members.
To minimise or remove most of the challenges in the health sector, we suggest as follows:
1) The presidency should appoint a health professional of JOHESU extraction to pair with an NMA member for balancing, collaboration, functionality and development rather than appoint only NMA persons.
2) There should be only one salary structure in the health sector as it was under Harmonised Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure(HATTISS)
3) The entry point should be decided by job evaluation which has been achieved already.
4) Allowances should be a fixed percentage of the evaluated salary.
5) Appointment of CMDs and MDs should no longer be restricted to only one professional group but made open to other professionals in the sector who have the requisite qualifications and competence.
6) In the tertiary institutions, management positions should be diversified among the various health professionals.
7) There should be a department of Physiotherapy/Medical rehabilitation in the Federal Ministry of Health together with those of Nursing, Medical Laboratory Sciences and others.
8) All professions whose duration of training is Six years should enter the salary structure at the same level, GL 12, with General Medical Practitioners eg Doctor of Physiotherapy degree, Doctor of Optometry degree, Dentistry, Doctor of Pharmacy degree etc. Other University graduates with 5 years duration should enter on GL 10 while those with 4 years duration should enter on GL 9. Once again, we make a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to step in and bring lasting solution and succour to health workers on this matter.
Long live Nigerian Society of Physiotherapy!
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Dr Odusanya Oyinlola Felix PT M.Sc., MNSP
National General Secretary
Dr Rufai Yusuf Ahmad DPT, PhD, MNSP