BY SEGUN ADEBAYO IN ABUJA – Kaduna State Healthcare have taken the bull by the horn by calling off the bluff by the State government to sack any of them that participate in the 7-days warning strike declared by the Health Workers Unions and Associations.
This was contained in a communique at the end of their joint meeting of the Health Workers Unions and Association which was signed by Dr. Danjuma Sale, Chairman of MDCAN BDTH, Dr Emmanuel Joseph who is the President of ARD Kaduna, Mr Ibrahim Abashe – Chairman, National Association of Pharmaceutical Technologists and Pharmacy Technology of Nigeria and Dr Stephen Akau Kache – Chairman of NMA, Kaduna State chapter directed their members to commence the warning strike to demand a reversal of what they described as “illegal” deductions of 25 percent of the salaries in the months of April and May, 2020.
The Health Workers in the State noted that doctors’ workforce were on strike prior to the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria but were prevailed upon to call off their actions by both the state and National bodies of the Nigeria Medical Association.
The communiqué stressed that contrary to what the Kaduna State Government want thepublic to believe, the strike is not in any way aimed at blackmailing the state in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It explained that the meeting called to assess the situation, noted the response of Kaduna state government to their earlier notice of a 7-day warning strike to press home their demands fell on deaf ears.
The Unions and Associations said that some of their demands include the refund of the 25 percent illegally deducted from the salaries of about 11,000 Healthcare workers in the midst of COVID-19 in the month of April and May, 2020, stressing that the action was carried out in clear violation of section 5 of the Labour Act.
The communique of the Health Workers further states; “Kaduna State Government paid between 150,000 to 450,000 naira as Occupational Safety incentives to about 300 selected HCWs and non HCWs working as staff or volunteer in the IDCC and isolation centre or serving in some of the COVID-19 pillars.
“Less than 2% of the HCWs in the State benefited from the packages. The promised 10% incentives for other HCWs though inadequate is yet to be paid.
“Most HCWs that were infected with COVID-19 are from health facilities outside the IDCC and isolation centres and none of them have been paid the purported #100,000 daily for 10 days.
“None of our members working in hospitals have been contacted to give their details for the widely publicized #5million and #2 million life and disability insurance respectively,” the Health workers said.
The communique further stated that all health workers are exposed to varying degrees of risk of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDs, Lassa fever, Ebola fever among others.
They stressed that there are no adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in the State hospitals as evidenced by patients buying their own hand gloves and HCWs getting their own personal facemask and eye goggles among other basic PPEs.