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No Work, No Pay – Minister of Health Tells Striking Health Workers

Valentine Chinyem

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ABUJA – The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has directed the Governing Boards of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions to hold an emergency meeting and order striking health workers to return to work.

The minister gave the directive on Monday, during an emergency meeting with chief medical directors and medical directors of tertiary hospitals.

The statement which was signed by the, Director Media and Public Relations of the ministry, Mrs. Boade Akinola, explained that the emergency meeting was to review the status of services being rendered in view of the on-going strike by JOHESU members.

He said monitoring teams would be sent to various government owned hospitals, to monitor activities and those who fail to resume work, would be considered to have absconded from their duty posts, without leave, an act which he added, is a serious misconduct with Public Service rule 030413.

The minister, went further by commending hospitals that were offering full services using locum Staff and volunteers, while citing hospitals in Northeast, Northwest and South-South zones, who are performaning well despite the strike.

The minister said that there was no reason any hospital should not have one ward per specialty open for operation.
Adewole said one gynaecology ward, one obstetrics ward, one paediatric ward, one surgical ward and one medical ward, should be kept functioning immediately in facilities yet to do so.

“The clinics must run, theatre must be opened, there is no reason why they should lock your theatre. No one has the right to lock up government hospitals,” the minister said.

“We want you to go back and restore services in your various institutions immediately,” he said.

The minister urged the chairmen to replace any chief executive not willing to keep services running in their hospitals, with another officer who is willing to do so, while also, noting that everyone who participated in the strike would not be paid for the period of the strike even if the strike was called off.

It will be recalled that Members of Joint Health Sector Workers Union (JOHESU), on the 17 of April, embarked on a nationwide strike over pay equality with medical doctors.