In a letter to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, the National Association of Nurses and Midwives of Nigeria have called for the Minister to correct the disparity in city’s proposed Hazard allowance for all frontline health workers.
Nigeria’s health care system is plagued by interprofessional in-fightings for decades and it appears the on-going coronavirus pandemic is about to trigger a new wave of bickering.
Here is a copy of the letter as received;
DISPARITY IN HAZARD ALLOWANCE FOR FRONTLINE WORKERS
We bring you fraternal greetings from the National Association of Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Council.
We salute the efforts of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) under your leadership in the current fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Nurses and Midwives in the FCT, as frontline health workers, are completely committed to the fight against COVID-19 and would continue to give our very best shot in containing and defeating the prevailing health insurgency.
We write to express our displeasure with the recent health hazard allowances announced by the FCTA. In the schedule of the allowances, medical doctors will receive N50,000, nurses will get N30,000 while other categories of health workers were placed on N20,000.
First, we wish to posit that at this crucial time of concerted efforts to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, monetary benefits should never be prioritized. This does not, however, erode the global healthcare best practice of providing special allowances for medical personnel at the frontline of health emergencies such as COVID-19. Globally, the award of such allowances is governed by the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value as established in the preamble of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Second, Honourable Minister, every health worker is exposed to the same risk while at work. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and midwives are even at more risk of infection given that they spend long hours with patients. This is why nurses and midwives earn more than medical doctors in many countries, especially in advanced climes. Even in Nigeria, many senior nurses earn more than medical doctors.
As we stated earlier, we cannot prioritize incentives more than our calling to save lives. It is, however, important that where incentives are provided, it should increase the bond of unity among health workers and not divide or distract us. At this time of health emergency, all members of the health team – nurses, midwives, medical doctors, laboratory scientists, and even cleaners, deserve equal treatment.
We, therefore, request that the Honourable Minister should use his good offices to redress this injustice against nurses and midwives in the FCT by granting a flat rate for all category of health workers. This will go a long way in promoting unity, conviviality and solidarity in the ranks of health workers as we continue to give our very best in containing and defeating the rampaging coronavirus disease.
While we look forward to your kind consideration, please accept the assurances of our highest esteem.
Comrade Deborah Yusufu