The Joint Health Sector Unions and the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals have called on the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to look into the demands relating to the welfare of its members in the state public service.
The Acting National Secretary, Matthew Ajurotu, in a letter signed for the National Chairman, Josiah Biobelemoye, and addressed to the governor, noted that a possible breakdown of health services in Lagos State was imminent if the demands were not met.
He said the union had deliberately engaged the state government with a lot of decorum to enable it deliver people-oriented programmes in public interest, but the latter did not reciprocate the gesture.
“The JOHESU/AHPA once again gives the LASG another opportunity to negotiate the demands of its members which we shall review in early February, 2023, to decide whether the National Secretariat of JOHESU/AHPA directly takes over.
“We, therefore, strongly urge Your Excellency to do the needful now to stall a possible breakdown of health services in Lagos State,” he stated.
According to the scribe, the governor did not acknowledge, respond or expedite action on its pleas to address the anomalies associated with the conditions of service of its members in the Pharmacy and Medical Laboratory service professions which were conveyed twice in 2022.
He said the demands include: full implementation of the Consultant Cadre status through the issuance of an enabling circular for eligible Fellows of the West African Post-graduate College of Pharmacists and the release of a circular on the Directorate of Medical Laboratory Services for Lagos State Government personnel.
The statement partly read, “Our members have continued to critically appraise the inaction of Your Excellency on these key demands. We observe with concern that the LASG appears to be taking sides with interested Health professional groups because the LASG has become an active party in a pending Court of Appeal matter between Medical Laboratory Scientists and Physicians/Pathologists in Lagos State.
“In a similar vein, the same forces which specialise in their acts of oppression and suppression in furtherance of a destructive politics of interest in healthcare have stalled the formal release of the Consultant Pharmacist Cadre which has been pending in the Office of the Head of Service for over one year now.
“In 2022 when the JOHESU/AHPA respectfully reached out to you, the major lament was in respect of Pharmacists and Medical Laboratory Scientists, but it has now escalated to include more personnel because the physician dominated apparatus in the health structure of the LASG continues to mobilise forces within and outside the immediate precincts of Government to inflict turmoil on all non-physician personnel in service.”
While highlighting its new demands, the health union stated that the state government had continued to play games with its demand, while lesser endowed states like Edo and Ondo joined the list of state governors already implementing the consultant cadre status which was initiated by Niger State government as the pacesetter.
The statement further read, “Retention allowances for all vulnerable health professionals especially pharmacists, medical laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiographers and others. Pharmacists under the aegis of the PSN have recently confirmed that over 5,200 pharmacists have exited Nigeria in the last three years.
“The PCN, its regulatory agency, confirmed in September, 2022 that about 1,000 of these licensed pharmacists who sought to practise abroad obtained Letters of Good Standing from the PCN to enable them practice Pharmacy abroad.
“It is the same with all the other professions and we shall not hesitate to provide you with data on the other professions as the need arises.
“Non-implementation of full CONHESS for our members on this salary scale, improved Hazard allowances for all personnel on CONHESS, implementation of enhanced call shift and non-clinical allowances for deserving personnel, immediate release of consultant cadre circular for eligible pharmacists in the LASG.
“Release of circular on the Directorate of Medical Laboratory Services while the LASG withdraws its biased stance of joining forces with physicians/pathologists at the Court of Appeal against other citizens of Lagos State who are Medical Laboratory Scientists.
“Implementation of the circular on Call Duty Allowances approved for Dental Technologists and Therapists. Placement of Health Service Commission Social Welfare Officers under the right salary scale and granting autonomy to all healthcare professionals in all health facilities in Lagos State to pave the way for global best practice.”