Friday Olokor, Abuja
Health workers under the aegis of the National Union of Allied Health Professionals took to the streets, in Abuja, on Tuesday, to protest what they described as rot in the health sector.
Specifically, the workers condemned the overseas medical trips by senior citizens of the country, saying if the health sector was running properly, Nigerian elite would not need to travel abroad for treatment.
Also, the union said President Muhammadu Buhari would not travel abroad for medical treatment if the nation’s health sector was adequate.
The union, therefore, gave the Federal Government a week ultimatum within which to address the abnormalities in the sector or face a nationwide strike.
As early as 8:30am, the workers had converged on the Federal Secretariat, Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation and the Three Arms Zone, along the popular Shehu Shagari Way.
They carried placards with various inscriptions including, “Federal Ministry of Health has legalised corruption,” “Implement consultancy status for other health professionals,” “Federal Ministry of Health worse than ever” and “Obey the rule of law.”
Other placards read, “Rot in Federal Ministry of Health must be cleansed,” “Federal Ministry of Health, stop the discrimination,” “Stop gambling with the health of Nigerians” and “Our hospitals are empty.”
The President of NUAHP, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna, told journalists that the protest was against the deplorable situation in the health sector.
He also decried the level of alleged corruption in the health sector, which he claimed, had led to the diversion of funds that would have been used to save innocent lives.
Ogbonna said, “If nothing is done against the flagrant display of lawlessness, perversion of justice and the rot in the health sector before February 27, 2017, the union will be left with no other option than to declare a nationwide strike.
“One will question why our President, Muhammadu Buhari, and other high-ranking Nigerians would go outside to seek medical attention if our health system is in order. The late former President of South Africa (Nelson Mandela), before he passed on, was never taken abroad to seek medical attention but our leaders often neglect our health infrastructure to decay.
“Confidence in our health system by Nigerians is completely eroded because of the lack of infrastructure, personnel and equipment in our hospitals which have become death centres.
“The situation has led to patients being diverted to private hospitals with the worse scenario of patients being referred from government hospitals to private ones usually owned by some top members of management of the hospitals.”
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