The Nigerian government is making conscious effort to stop further industrial action in the health services sector as it endangers the lives of citizens.
The Minister of state for health Dr. Emmanuel Ehanire made the remark during a courtesy call on the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Professor Hafiz Abubakar at the government house, north western Nigeria.
Ehanire said government has reached out to the various unions within the health services sector for negations with amicable settlement, urging them to see reasons why they must stop going on strikes because of their daily services to save human lives.
He called on the Kano State government to partner with the federal government in averting incessant strike actions that have constantly taken place in the sector.
‘‘Many of the demand predates this government, we are still trying to understand and find ways to resolve the issues amicably, so that strikes will no longer be introduced into the healthcare system as it continued to cause disruption in service and also endanger lives.’’
‘‘We want the Kano state government to continue to help in the area of industrial harmony. We do have this issue in the areas of unions, medical doctors and non medical doctors constantly going on strike in our hospitals, even in the state government hospitals. We are trying to reach conversation with them,’’ he explained.
‘‘I m pleading with unions and I wants the Kano state government to join to plead that strikes should not be used to endanger lives. We will continue to be open for dialogue in order to find solution to the problems. In this regard, we solicit for support, cooperation and collaboration from the Kano state government.’’ Requested the Minister
The minister said government is working to reduce the level of under-development in the health services sector through cooperation among the three tiers of government.
‘‘We are still planning and plotting to see how we can realize all of it, in short while the government wants to bring the federal, state and the local government participation in the health services sector into one platform for efficient service provision.’’
He said the Nigerian government will continue to solicit partnership with the Kano state government in the area of immunization, health education and man power to render services at the various Primary Health care Centers, in the form of nursing officers, development community health workers.
Others include; community extension health workers, skilled man power in the areas of birth attendants and Midwifery to help to drive issues in the sector.
‘‘We will continue to converse on how to access funding for all these areas of vicious projects. Discussions are ongoing.’’ The Minister said
In response, the Deputy Governor, Hafiz Abubarkar said the State government is paying reasonable attention to the health care sector despite the challenging economic situation.
He pointed out that the Kano has a well structured and working Primary Healthcare system leading to the tripartite agreement in Polio eradication and routine immunization with Bill Gate and Mellinda foundation, the Dangote foundation and the State government.
He further said that ‘‘a lot has been done to reduce maternal and child death in the state, trained over 1,OOO traditional Birth attendants alongside ambulances deployed for emergency cases all around the state.’’
Hafiz urged the executive arm of government and development partners to seek ways in which a pool of over 25,000 well trained temporal appointment primary Health workers for immunization can be gainfully employed for immunization and deployed to other areas of the health care sector.
The Deputy Governor also called on the federal government and other development agencies to intervene in the issues of high rate of child malnutrition in the state.
He said according to recent reports from UNICEF and other development agencies Kano has one of the poorest malnutrition indices in Nigeria.
‘‘The 52 percent standing ratio and the 46 percent average amomg states in Nigeria is worrisome and will be glad if the federal government and development agencies can intervene to alleviate the scourge,’’ he said.
End of medical tourism abroad
At the Amniu Kano teaching Hospital, (AKTH) the Minister of state for health Dr. Ehanire, who also agreed that Teaching and Specialist hospitals across the country remain under-staffed, however, urged Chief Medical Directors to adopt the theory of efficiency because with that, they do not need many staff.
Ehanire also advocated for staff-shifting and multi-tasking, where able hands can be moved from where they are many to where they are few.
He promised that the Federal Government will intervene in areas of critical need of human resources.
The Minister commended the facilities at the AKTH and rated them to be of international standards.
‘‘With the facilities and technologies in AKTH alone, Nigerians need not to embark on health tourism abroad, if efficiency and staff-shifting are employed,’’ emphasized the Minister.
He added that most hospitals of the same standard with AKTH in Europe and London have only half of the current hospital’s staff strength, but are doing better because they believe in efficiency.
The Minister was in Kano to commission projects donated to the health care sector by a Philantrophist Aminu Dantata and to inspect activities in The Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano.