Workers Welfare Nurses demand forensic probe of health ministry

NANNM representative, Wale Olatunde urged the FG to look into the way things are run in the health sector.

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The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has urged the Federal Government to conduct a forensic probe on the Federal Ministry of Health and its parastatal agencies.

Mr Wale Olatunde, the association’s President of federal health institutions chapter, made the appeal on Thursday in Abuja during a peaceful protest by members demanding for improved condition of service in the Federal Ministry of Health.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of association were drawn from 66 federal health institutions with 66 hospitals.

The institutions comprised all federal teaching hospitals, federal medical centres and federal specialist hospitals.

Olatunde listed his members’ grievances to include inadequate manpower, non-payment of promotion arrears, uniform allowance for upward of seven years and dearth of highly skilled nurse specialists.

He said discriminatory and selective implementation of government policies by the ministry on career progression for nurses and midwives, among others, was also a grievance.

“All these complaints amount to my members being denied their rights. We, as an association have explored all legal means of addressing the situation.

“In fact, judgment was passed in our favour, however, the authorities in the sector refused to obey the court judgment.

“This is tantamount to putting the nation’s health system in jeopardy,’’ the NANNM president said.

He decried the deteriorating state of infrastructure, functional equipment and non-availability of adequate medical consumables, among others, in the sector.

According to him, these problems are as a result of corrupt practices by some top officials in the sector.

Olatunde stressed that the forensic review should focus on how the budgetary allocations and internally generated revenue of the ministry and its agencies were expended.

“Year in, year out the parastatal agencies as well as the ministry keep demanding for review of allocation. A large chunk of the allocation is used for selfish gains by some few individual against its intent,’’ he alleged.

Olatunde regretted that some foreign donor agencies had withdrawn from the country due to corrupt practices.

He alleged further that the country’s health sector could not account for donor agencies investment in the sector.

“A ministry that can harbor a fake doctor for over eight years and who incidentally was a leading figure in the fight against Ebola and other haemorrhagic fevers calls for a forensic review of its activities.

“This country has the potentialities to be a centre of medical tourism, if its human and financial resources are judiciously managed.

“The basic things that we need like nurses and other healthcare professionals are not available, yet they keep on demanding for money all the time.

“The country’s consistent unenviable position in all health indices is as a result of the activities of these individuals or cabals.

“The most recent evaluation is the country ranking of 187 out of 191 countries in health indices in spite of the huge financial resources available for healthcare delivery,’’ he said.

NAN also reports that similar peaceful protests were recorded across the country within the week by members of the association.

Meanwhile, the federal ministry of health is yet to react to the development. 

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