By Hassan Zaggi
Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWUN) have appealed to the Federal Government to demonstrate what it described as compassion, commitments and appreciation of the sacrifices of health workers across the country by ordering the release of all their withheld salaries.
They have also called on governments at all levels to find ways of motivating health workers so that they can put in their very best in the fight against Covid-19.
They also called for the implementation of the new Minimum Wage (CONHESS) for all their members.
In a statement signed by its National President, Biobelemoye Josiah and Secretary General, Silas G. Adamu, the MHWUN listed the outstanding salaries to include those of April/May 2018, for all Federal Health Institutions (FHIs); all salaries (several months) owed workers, especially in Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) etc.
The MHWUN however, expressed concern over the decision of the federal government to ease the Covid-19 lockdown in the country, noting that the decision may lead to the increase in the number new confirmed cases of the disease.
“While we commend the efforts of the federal government for the steps so far taken in the fight against the disease, we call for caution and stringent measures to ensure that the decision to ease the lock down does not take us back to level zero where new cases will spring up to the extent that the hitherto weak, and further weakened health system and ill-motivated health workers will be overwhelmed. This, certainly, will be disastrous.
“MHWUN therefore, advice the federal and states governments to make available more testing (including rapid test kits) and isolation centres to accommodate more people in case the unwanted happens.
“They (governments) also need to provide large quantities of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other consumables to health workers at all levels to enable them do their work professionally.
“This is important because the health worker is not on a “kamikaze” mission, hence must be alive and healthy before he/she can save other lives,” the statement reiterated.
The MHWUN, therefore, called on its members across the country to “apply WISDOM and observe all known protocols to ensure that they stay safe. They should see every patient as a suspected Covid-19 carrier but be polite when dealing with such patients, unless proved otherwise.”
It also called on Nigerians to, with the ease of the lockdown, endeavor to stay safe by observing all regulations and guidelines, especially wearing of face masks in public places, frequent washing of hands and observing social/physical distancing as directed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).