In this edition of Health News Watch, our Editor focuses on the instability currently rocking the health sector despite some key success recorded. Already these issues are turning into a ‘major situation’ and they dwarf the success being recorded in the sector.
The health workers Industrial remains unresolved just as Federal Government raises alert levels at all borders following Ebola deaths reported in Democratic Republic of Congo. On a positive note however, the Federal Government is expected to declare Nigeria free of Lassa Fever. Cool right?
EBOLA DEATHS RECORDED IN WEST AFRICA REGION
There is a gradual fear coming back on the health scene in Nigeria, even though the trigger is still in a far away place. Not too sound overly excited, but I think it is right to say “Ebola Is Back”.
International reports have it that the Ministry of Health of The Democratic Republic of Congo announced 17 new deaths from patients in the country.
In Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) said lab tests in the DRC confirmed the presence of Ebola virus in two out of five samples collected from patients. It said it had released $1 million (840,000 euros) from an emergency contingency fund, set up a coordination group and deployed more than 50 experts to work with the DRC government and health agencies.
We anticipate that previous effective models of curbing the disease will be used this time.
JOHESU STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT CHAPTERS JOIN IN STRIKE
In an anticipated twist of event, the Joint Health Worker Union JOHESU, through her National Executives have mandated State and Local Chapters to Join in the strike.
Recall that some three weeks back when the strike was to commence, the JOHESU National leaders had hinted that States and Local Government members may be called in to join the strike if they perceive the Federal Government is foot dragging to meet its demand. Well, that threat is being implemented.
Already patients are being forcefully asked to leave the hospital… they would have to go to private facilities that are more expensive for most people.
Results for resolution meetings by the Federal Government mediators and the union executives have been in a deadlock. Already, issues of trust and respect are playing the major retrogressive role to achieving a quick and prompt and lasting solution.
The JOHESU negotiation team view the Ministers of Health and Minister or Labour and Productivity as thwarting their drive to achieving the aim of the strike.
The Minister of Health, Prof Adewole and his Labour and Productivity counterpart, Dr Ngige are both Medical Doctors. Could this be the reason for the deadlocks? Are the JOHESU Executives really fighting for the welfare of the members or are they simply undermining the offices of both Ministers because they are occupied by medical doctors?
The government seem optimistic that the industrial action would be resolved soonest, even though the striking health workers are not ready to budge until as they put it; “Alert enters their phone” ie they get bank confirmation via SMS or email messages. In the meantime, patients would bear the burden of paying more in private hospital settings.