By Henry Uche, Lagos
The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has accused the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) of antagonism towards the union. The accusation comes after a notice of 15-Day Ultimatum and Commencement of an Indefinite Strike Action by JOHESU was issued.
In a statement delivered by JOHESU National President Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, the health sector union objected to a memo by the NMA addressed to the Minister of Health, which, according to him, was proof of NMA’s resentment of JOHESU
‘As usual, the childish tirades of the NMA was laden with evil chicanery and satanic antagonism in a scenario that epitomises unwholesome meddlesomeness of the idle, ignorant and very inexperienced crop of representatives who lead the NMA,’ Josiah’s statement said.
‘We, therefore, make this submission thus: Adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure CONHESS as was done for Consolidate Medical Salaries Structures CONMESS.
‘The NMA is not the employer of JOHESU members so its busybody propensities remain unexplainable. We, therefore, urge the Hon Minister to dismiss the tendencies of these despots and tyrants because of the nuisance value it constitutes.
‘Vest Welfare Conditions Enjoyed by Physicians in Civil Service. Medical elders and patriots need to help the persons who style themselves as the brain-box of NMA that they are positioning this once upon a time famous and noble body to an emerging body of liars and charlatans who specialise in dabbling into other peoples business.’
‘If the NMA suddenly says it is not aware of Residency Training which it has tried to frustrate in the FHIs exist, then JOHESU wishes to educate these obviously educated illiterates that as far back as July 2015, the FMOH issued a Residency training circular for Pharmacists undergoing post-graduate training at the West Africa Post-Graduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP).
‘In the final analysis, the NMA should appreciate that despite its abundance of mischief and ignorance, we continue to march on because we continue to stand on perfect logic. The immutability of the veracity of our submissions remains second to none.’
‘We call for the implementation of Consultant Pharmacy Cadre. The creation of the Consultant Pharmacist Cadre is a reality and not a purported concept.
‘We at JOHESU openly challenge the clueless NMA hierarchy to show the world evidence-based data that we do not have Consultants in Pharmacy, Nursing, Radiography, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Science and other callings from those climes where international best practices evolved from. For the umpteenth time, we say this is the norm from the UK, USA, Australia, France and even Ghana a neighbouring West African country.
‘The fact that some people in NMA choose to be blind to advances in the various health professions as exemplified by Pharmacy does not change or invalidate the approval of programmes by NUC or the adoption/regularisation of the Consultant Pharmacists Cadre as circularised by the Head of Service of the Federation and the FMOH.
‘While NMA is lamenting and groping in the dark, more state governments including Niger State which was the first to approve ten years ago, Edo, Ondo and many more state governments have commenced implementation. Perhaps the tomfoolery of the dictators in the rank of the NMA will give way someday to let them know that truly what the creator cannot do does not exist.
The union also called for the promoting Hospital-Based Consultants as CEOs of Federal Health Institutions, FHIs, saying: ‘The insouciant display of irresponsibility of the rascals who author various memoranda of the NMA does not have limits. Pray who says a hospital-based Consultant does not have post-graduate qualifications. Since leaders of NMA do not even understand the qualifications they have bagged, we hasten to inform them that a holder of a Fellowship in the Health Sector has a post-graduate qualification and so meets the condition precedent to aspire to be CEO of the FHIs.’
‘We call for a non-discriminatory Hazard Allowance. The NMA team to the various bargaining sessions of the FG mediated discourse on hazard allowance tried in vain to impose a conqueror mentality. It should interest the consuming public that despite all the expositions put forward by NMA to misinform on the payment of hazard allowance, it remains a truth that in the last 12 years all health workers from the most junior to senior earned N60,000/annum in respect of this allowance.
‘What has suddenly changed again in 2021 that should warrant these greedy physicians to earn more hazard allowance than their colleagues in that sector?
‘All health workers share basic humanity and this must continue to be the rationale for equity in the payment of Hazard Allowance established and has prevailed since 2009. After all there are other allowances such as inducement, etc that provides differentials owing to skills, training, etc,”
‘We call for a review of Retirement Age for Health Workers. JOHESU championed this initiative which initially was opposed by physicians because it didn’t originate from them: and it is gratifying as the FG has accepted this for health workers. We urge the FG to catalyse all necessary junctures in due process for a successful implementation.
JOHESU added that ‘the ill posture of insubordination with which the NMA contends with members of the Health Constituency is overtly and covertly aided by the government at all levels through its appointments, policy direction and other dictates of due process which display no courtesies for the rights, privileges and liberties of other players in the Health Sector as bonafide citizens of the State.
‘The current events and attitude of the NMA will be a test case to see what the FG is prepared to do as it tackles our demands. Many of our members believe that we were shortchanged in 2018 because you and the Ministers-in-charge of Health are kith and kin with the NMA dynasty as you all share the same professional DNA. JOHESU leadership will give your Ministry another opportunity to clean this stinking Augean stable in the public interest.’