End health workers strike now, physiotherapists tell FG

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The minister of health

…say medical doctors alone cannot sustain sector

 

As the strike embarked upon by health workers across the country lingers, the Association of Clinical and Academic Physiotherapists of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to urgently address the issues surrounding the ongoing industrial action.

The ACAPN urged the government to look into the demands of the striking health workers as the medical doctors alone could not bring about the desired improvement in the nation’s health sector.

The President of the association, Prof. Rufus Adedoyin, told our correspondent in Lagos that the issue of strikes in the health sector, especially regarding remuneration, should not have become a lingering problem if it had been handled properly.

Adedoyin, who is also a university don, alleged that the Federal Government had been partial by treating medical doctors differently from other health workers in addressing the demands of both professionals.

He alleged that only doctors were put in top positions in the various health institutions across the country to the detriment of the other medical professionals.

He said, “If you look at the appointments of Chief Medical Directors in government health institutions, you will see that medical doctors are always favoured; even the Medical Advisory Committees and all the ministries of health in all the states are headed by medical doctors. This is not supposed to be so. What about the other medical professionals?

“These are the issues that other medical professionals find challenging and the government must not forget that they also are growing; they must look at that fact and there must be a negotiation meeting that will make things right.”

The ACAPN boss identified contending issues of superiority fight between medical doctors and other health workers as one of the causes of the frequent strikes in the nation’s health sector, adding that the discrimination by the Nigerian Medical Association against other health workers had been responsible for the series of demands on government by the various health professionals.

Adedoyin said, “It is a usual thing for the doctors to go on strike and the government will call them to accede to their requests. You should know that other people will come out to do the same and start their own strike. That has been happening and it is expected that things like this will happen.

“You know there was a time all medical professionals had almost a unified salary scale. But at a point, the salary scale for medical doctors was upgraded through the NMA and it was a jumbo salary for medical doctors, but other medical professionals were relegated as they were not carried along.

“The medical doctors avoid the fact that the other professions are growing and developing. They believe that they are the overall bosses in the health sector and whatever they say is final, but which people are contending.”

The ACAPN president, however, added that only government could put an end to the issue of frequent strikes by encouraging teamwork in negotiations with the authorities, to bring a lasting solution to the woes in the health sector.

“The doctors should stay out of this strike action, it is a matter between health workers and the government and the government alone cannot solve the problem. We, too, can call ourselves to a meeting and discuss. Resolving this problem of frequent strikes is a matter of team work; not an individual issue. It’s just like you want to build a house, you are not the only person to build a house as we have other artisans,” he said.