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Joint health workers tackle NMA over comment on protest
Date Posted: 30/Dec/2012


The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has replied the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) over association’s remark that a protest staged by the union in Abuja on 13 December was politically motivated.
JOHESU, a coalition of five trade unions with members consisting of all nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, medical laboratory scientists, radiographers, dieticians, optometrists, health information managers and other health professionals, has been involved in a running battle with the association of medical doctors over certain situations in the health sector.
The union, in a statement entitled; Re: NMA Reacts to JOHESU’s National Protest, said “the protest rally was described by the NMA as politically motivated and seen as planned to scuttle the passage of the National Health Bill into law, while those who participated in the rally were described as a ‘handful’ of allied medical/health professionals/workers. The NMA referred to the JOHESU and Assembly of Health Professional Associations rally as a ‘handful’ of people.
“The members of the public should no longer be deceived by the NMA through series of lies and blackmail it dishes out to Nigerians. It should be noted that the JOHESU/Assembly of Health Professional Associations constitute over 90 per cent of the population of the total workforce of Nigerian health professionals/workers.
“We would like to properly educate NMA leaders and inform the dignified members of the general public that we are too mature and principled to be used by any politician or group of people for evil. We are also not opposed to the passage of the National Health Bill per se, but disagree with certain provisions which the leaders of the NMA smuggled into the bill through the connivance of the present Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, who is a leader of the NMA.”
The union, in the statement signed by National President, NUAHP/NUPMTPAM, Mr Felix Faniran; and Secretary General, O. C. Ogbonna, also alleged that JOHESU had suggested to the minister of health to call a stakeholder meeting over the health bill, but that he refused.
“When JOHESU and Assembly of Health Professional Associations (AHPA) requested the Minister of Health to invite all stakeholders in the sector to discuss the grey areas in the NHB, since the bill was passed by the 6th National Assembly in May 2011 and the withholding of the president’s assent, the minister refused to do so. Instead, he held series of meetings with the NMA officers and the Committee of Chief Medical Directors, all members of which are medical practitioners and NMA members. But he neither met with us nor include our suggestions and input into the bill in an effort to ensure that the bill should retain the provisions which impose leaders of NMA on all other health professionals undemocratically, contrary to international best practices,” JOHESU said.
 The union went ahead to give various suggestions that could solve the problems bedeviling the health sector, chief of which is removal of current ministers of health and overhauling of the nation’s health policy.


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