BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI, ABUJA – The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has frowned at the seeming lack of conscious efforts to protect health workers on the front line in Nigeria’s battle against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The body’s anger follows the positive virus test by over 400 health workers across the country in the last three months.
National Chairman of JOHESU, Josiah Biobelemoye, who expressed the group’s displeasure during the distribution of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) to its various State Councils in Abuja on Thursday, said there is an urgent need for government at all levels to ensure health workers are not left exposed to the scourge.
Biobelemoye said current situation is quite worrisome and demands an urgent drastic solutions, hence their decision to take the lead in distributing PPEs to its members.
The JOHESU boss however said the increase in infections notwithstanding, health workers nationwide will not relent in working to protect and ensure safety of Nigerians health-wise.
According to Biobelemoye, “Since the outbreak of COVID- 19, over 400 members of JOHESU have been infected by coronavirus”, adding; “We also need to support our own members who are working and sacrificing their lives for the generality of Nigerians.”
In his remarks at the occasion, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi, expressed government’s appreciation of all donations made by public spirited individuals and groups towards containing the virus in Nigeria.
Represented by the Ministry’s Director of Human Resources, Aliya Mohammed, the Permanent Secretary said for some unexplainable reasons, Nigeria is tackling the COVID-19 challenges much better than some countries with advanced technological ingenuity.
Admitting that COVID-19 has changed Nigerians’ way of life and the health system in general, Mashi said; “even the developed countries have been overwhelmed, talk less of Nigeria.”
In addition, the JOHESU Chairman said; “The virus has affected the economy drastically, hence government cannot meet all the challenges that has been thrown up, that is why we welcome such donations by the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria.
“We have many frontline health workers taking up these challenges on behalf of other Nigerians and the federal government is always appreciate of these efforts, so we crave your understanding and more support to improve on our health care delivery in the country.”
Also speaking during the items distribution, General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja maintained that health workers must be commended for being the first line of defence to raise awareness on COVID-19 and its preventive measures.
Ugboaja said a situation where Nigerians constantly see health workers wearing face masks, will definitely pass on the needed message and make more people to be conscious of the deadly virus and the need to stay safe.
He said it is on record that; “Medical and Health Workers Union were the first set of people that produced face masks and other PPEs and started distributing to Nigerians.”