The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, NUAHP, on Wednesday, demanded life insurance scheme and immediate payment of N100, 000 special coronavirus allowances to all health workers at the frontline of the war against the disease as presently done to other health workers globally.
Making the demand in a press statement jointly signed by the President, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna and General Secretary, Comrade Martin Adekunle Egbanubi, the Union said in view that their members and other health workers were patriotically committed to the fight against the disease, the Federal Government should commence a life insurance scheme for all health workers to further encourage them to remain devoted to save the rest of the populace from the pandemic.
NUAHP also noted that the high risk of infection faced by health workers and further demanded the upward review of hazard allowance for health workers from the paltry ₦5, 000 to ₦100.
“With the President’s pronouncement of the total lockdown of Abuja and Lagos including Ogun state, we demand that Federal Government work out modalities to ensure that health workers in those areas are provided with adequate support to enhance human logistics and other support systems.
“We also demand the provision of more Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs, and free medication for all health workers at the frontline of the war against the pandemic.”
They added that the government should pay withheld salaries of April and May 2018 to health workers in Federal Health Institutions, adding that the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) adjustment and 30th September 2017 agreement should be effected.
Further, the Union urged the federal and state governments to provide adequate isolation centres, ventilators, testing kits and other necessary equipment that would allow health workers to be fully functional nationwide.
“It is absolutely imperative for the Federal Government to encourage and motivate health workers through immediate implementation of these demands,” NUAHP stated.
Continuing, the Union in the statement appealed to the Federal Government to set up a committee comprising of representatives of health workers’ unions, government, organised private sector and civil society organisation to oversight and monitor all equipment and funds put in place by government and those donated by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, well-meaning Nigerians and corporate bodies to ensure judicious distribution as well as prevent diversion to a private hospital or private use.
“Hence, EFCC/ICPC should ensure that all private health facilities and institutions acquired illegally and at the expense of public health institutions should be immediately impounded and converted accordingly as part of measures to address this national emergency imposed on us by COVID – 19 pandemic.”
The Union also regretted that the outbreak of coronavirus has exposed the inadequacy and poor state of the country’s health infrastructures at all levels, adding that the Federal Government should commence a holistic approach to proper funding and management of the health industry.
“We suggest the establishment of National Health Institutions Trust Fund, NHITFUND, similar to Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND. All funds donated during this period should be used as a take-off. Trade unions in the health industry should be part of the formation, implementation, and monitoring of the scheme.”
“We encourage you to be strong and do your best in the service of God and humanity, as you make use of the preventive and protective equipment in discharging your life-saving duties. The union leadership will continue to pray for you and give you the needed support, encouragement and solidarity.”