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Nurses, midwives oppose proposed privatisation of health services

The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, Monday, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the proposed privatisation of certain services in the healthcare sector.

Mr. Abdulrafiu Adeniji, the National President of NANNM made the appeal while addressing the press in Abuja at the end of the 2018 International Nurses and Midwives Week.

Adeniji said the clamour for the privatisation of health services in the context of giving over national assets acquired with the collective resources of the majority to a few elites can best be described as criminality against humanity.

According to him, rather than mortgage the right of the people to quality, safe and affordable healthcare through privatisation, the federal government should join hands with relevant stakeholders to fight against quackery in the health system.

His words: “A danger of our healthcare system is the recent clamour for the privatisation of certain services. Let me be quick to point out that the proponents of this idea are clamouring for certain selfish and parochial interests.

“Any form of Public-Private-Partnership, PPP, that will take healthcare services from the masses will not be able to meet Nigeria’s SDG and UHC targets.

“Political elites should be warned about their insatiable quest for power as their interests should not be allowed to override public interest and access to health as a human right.

“We join other stakeholders to condemn such move which is targeted at further impoverishing the citizenry under the guise of providing healthcare services. The federal government must take a cue from the present state of the power sector in Nigeria.

“Rather than privatise health services, we are calling on the government of President Buhari to support the fight against quackery in the health sector. The menace of quackery portends greater danger to our healthcare system and is deadlier than the effects of all kinds of viral and haemorrhagic fever combined.”

On the issue of the ongoing industrial action by Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, Adeniji described as draconian the measures adopted by the Federal Ministry of Health to punish the striking workers rather than accede to their demands.

He said: “It is most unfortunate that while other countries are counting their gains towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage, what the federal ministry of health is counting are loses occasioned by an inevitable though very much avoidable strike.

“We not only detest the seeming apartheid in the health sector but also condemn the draconian measures adopted against our members which includes: intimidation, harassment, issuance of obnoxious circulars and the withholding of April 2018 salary of our members.

“The ‘No work, No Pay’ rule applies only when an illegal strike is embarked upon, which means either the employer is not notified or there exists no dispute of interests. But that is not the case with the JOHESU strike.

“We are undeterred and will continue to align with the struggle which is for justice and equity not equality, and advise the federal government to accede to request by the health workers without further delay,” he added

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