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AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners

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AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners
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AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners

By Amarachukwu EgwuAgha, Abakaliki

Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) has urged the Federal Government (FG) to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practioners.

The association made the call in a statement jointly signed by it’s national chairman
Mr Olabode Ogunjemiyo and national secretary Mr Oladele Obikoya and made available to newsmen in Abakaliki.

The group also urged the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to embrace modern medicine and to jettison ‘medieval’ era practice

AHAPN noted that the single-spine salary structure for practising health professionals in Nigeria would usher in permanent industrial harmony in the health sector.

The association frowned at the prolonged professional rivalry between NMA and other health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and appealed to the FG to initiate a single-spine salary regime for all health workers.

The initiative the association noted would be based on the job evaluation report in the health sector submitted in February 2008 by the inter agency committee set up by FG on the matter.

AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners

The statement added that the report prescribed a salary relativity ratio of 10 is to 8.57 is to 7.12 between medical doctors and pharmacists/other health professionals and others respectively.

The association said that the single-spine salary model had been adopted by the government of Ghana for their health workforce and stressed that it has engendered peace, harmony and stability in the sector with the attendant better health indices.

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The association condemned the reaction of the NMA to the recent 15 days ultimatum and commencement of an indefinite strike action notice by JOHESU to FG.

The statement alleged that NMA had described some of the demands of JOHESU as inappropriate and capable of violating existing agreement between it and the FG which could plung the health sector into needless labour unrest.

The demands included; upward review of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), non-discriminatory hazard allowance, implementation of consultancy cadre for pharmacists.

The association also demanded for the promotion of hospital-based consultants to Chief Executive Officers of tertiary hospitals.

The statement read: “The NMA is challenging the position of JOHESU on residency training programme for its members and creation of Consultant Pharmacist cadre.

“NMA alleges that the demand for the implementation of the Pharmacist consultant cadre is a breach of the ruling of the National Industrial Court which places the authority of such creation in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).

“The association in debunking NMA’s false claims set the records straight with supporting documents from the FG and also stated the existence of the Pharmacist consultant cadre in the public service of countries like U.K, USA, France, Australia and neighboring Ghana.

“The NMA’s opposition is contained in a letter to Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, dated Sept. 7, 2021 and jointly signed by the President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, and General Secretary, Dr Phillips Ekpe.”

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It added that the NMA had contended the positions of JOHESU claiming that the association was not aware of any residency training programme in teaching hospitals, specialist hospitals and federal medical centres.

The pharmacists which vowed commitment to enthronment of industrial peace in the health sector urged the medical doctors to jettison ‘medieval’ era practice of the profession and embrace modern medicine anchored on teamwork for patients’ best outcome.

“The NMA should understand that orthodox health care practice is not indigenous to Nigeria.

“Therefore, its modus operandi in the country cannot be dictated and driven by the whimsical and capricious proclivities of NMA contrary to what is obtainable at the global arena,” the document said.

The statement portrayed NMA’s alleged denial of residency programme for pharmacists as mere deception, as it cited the particular circular via the FMoH that gave approval for the residency training of pharmacists.

“The ministry of health had on Sept. 22, 2015 approved the use of its facilities as sites for residency training for the students of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists.

“The approval was made vide a circular, reference number FDS/231/04/11/68 signed by the Permanent Secretary.

“It is important that NMA be reminded that residency programmes are not only applicable to medicine but also Pharmacy and Nursing in other climes notably USA.

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“In the USA, physicians, pharmacists and nurses undergo residency training where you either pay the facilities to undergo the training or you receive remuneration as salary and you are thereafter bonded for a period.

” In adopting the above model in Nigeria, emigration of residents in medicine will be stemmed.

“Perhaps, NMA imagines that medicine is superior to every other profession. NMA should appreciate that modern healthcare provision is anchored on teamwork by the different professionals with the patient at the centre of the care matrix.

“Besides, NMA should note that professions exist to serve humanity and new ones are emerging in response to the activities of human existence.

“Everyone cannot belong to a single profession; it is appropriate to state that the bottom line of all care efforts in the patient care chain is to treat the patient to get healed from ailment.

“Doing this, requires the use of drugs which are tiny molecules prepared, handled and managed by the pharmacist and it remains the most potent weapon in disease treatment and patient care/management,” the statement added.

The association noted that pharmacists remained one of the most exposed professionals in terms of risk in the hospital environment as they were exposed to risk of infection during patients counseling, chemical hazards, physical and psychological agents.

The group canvassed for parity in determining hazard allowance of all health professionals in the ongoing negotiation with FG.

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FG Budgets ₦2,178 For Each Citizen’s Healthcare In 2022

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FG Budgets ₦2,178 For Each Citizen’s Healthcare In 2022
Minister Of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire
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FG Budgets ₦2,178 For Each Citizen’s Healthcare In 2022

Despite the importance of the health sector, LEADERSHIP investigation revealed that the Federal Ministry of Health received the sum of Over N1.385.36trillion in the last three years (2019 to 2021).

A breakdown of the budget in the past three years (2019-2021) shows that N6,534 was budgeted for each citizen, indicating N2,178 per citizen in a year, based on the 2021 proposed population of the country.

Only four to five percent of the country’s total budget is allocated to health annually, against the Abuja Declaration of 15 percent budget allocation to health in 2001.

In 2001, heads of state of African Union (AU) countries met in Abuja and committed to prioritise the health sector by allocating at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to the sector.

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FG Budgets ₦2,178 For Each Citizen’s Healthcare In 2022

Now 20 years after this commitment, which Nigeria was part of, countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Swaziland, Togo and the Central African Republic have since met this target.

Nigeria has not even been able to allocate half of the expected 15 per cent in these 20 years.

LEADERSHIP gathered that recurrent expenditure got about N1.93trillion while capital expenditure got N240bn in the years in question.

In 2019, for instance, of the total budget of N8.9 trillion, as contained in the Budget Office of the Federation document, the sum of N423.92 billion, representing 4.75 per cent of the budget, was allocated to health.

In 2021, of the total budget of N13.82 trillion, the sum of N546.98billion, or 4.18 per cent of the budget, was allocated to health: N380.21billion went to recurrent expenditure and N35.03billion to BHCPF, bringing the total recurrent expenditure to N415.24billion, while N131.74 billion was meant for capital expenditure.

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This indicates that a large percentage of the health budget goes to salaries, pensions and overheads while only a fraction is allocated to investment in healthcare facilities, equipment and other infrastructure.

Experts in the health sector have blamed low budgetary allocation for the deplorable state of the country’s health sector. They, however, linked corruption and poor utilisation of the little money provided as major challenges.

“It is true that the budgetary allocation is very low. It’s a shame, but the truth is that even the utilisation, the proper application and judicious utilisation of the little provided, is a huge problem. That is what people call corruption, but I don’t call it corruption, I call it stealing.”

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Also, a reproductive health expert, Dr. Ejike Orji, identified corruption and lack of accountability as another challenge confronting the sector, saying even the little that is allocated is diverted.

According to him, a research by Bill and Melinda Gates on public health financing showed that out of every N100 that was meant for the health sector, only 40 per cent was spent while 60 per cent was stolen.

“ people are dying unnecessary in the country. ““People are dying on a daily basis. In the past week I have counted people who have died who on a good day wouldn’t have died, and the reason is that the healthcare response to their needs was very poor.

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FG Sets To Establish Numerous Covid19 Vaccination Sites In Nigeria

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FG Sets To Establish Numerous Covid19 Vaccination Sites In Nigeria
President Buhari leading by example
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FG Sets To Establish Numerous Covid19 Vaccination Sites In Nigeria

*Nigeria least committed in W-Africa to tackling inequality amid Covid-19

The Federal Government has said plans were on the way to set up mass vaccination centres across the country.
This came as Nigeria was ranked as the worst performing country in West Africa in the global effort to defeat inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Federal Government has been charged to invest massively in public education, health and social protection, to tackle poverty, joblessness and other inequalities.

The Federal Government explained that the development was in line with the commitment to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this during a press conference he held to update Nigerians on the country’s current COVID-19 vaccination status, yesterday.

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He said: “The objective of this strategy is to vaccinate a high volume of individuals through large sites such as federal institutions (universities, polytechnics), shopping malls, religious centers, sporting events, conference centers, and markets etc.

“This will require strong collaboration between NPHCDA, state governments, religious bodies, school authorities and governing bodies of malls and large sporting events.”

“As we expand the vaccination sites, we encourage all eligible Nigerians to avail themselves for vaccination.

FG Sets To Establish Numerous Covid19 Vaccination Sites In Nigeria

“I am also glad to inform you that we have commenced the process of decentralizing COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria, to include private health care providers.

“This is to expand access and increase utilization of the vaccines,” he added.

Shuaib disclosed that as of the time of the briefing, “A total of 5,246,523 eligible populations have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.

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“This represents 4.7 percent of our target population.

“The number of eligible persons fully vaccinated in Nigeria is 2,546,094 which represents 2.3 percent of our target population,” he said.

Nigeria least committed in W/Africa to tackling inequality amid Covid-19

Meanwhile, the 2021 Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, CRII, which ranks Nigeria last among the 16 countries of the Economic Community of West African Countries, ECOWAS, and second to the last in Africa (45th out of 46 countries), based its verdict on the nation’s very low spending on education, health and extremely limited and poor quality public services, amid high taxation.

The CRI Index which was developed and delivered through a partnership between Finance International and Oxfam International, with inputs from independent experts, ranked the Nigerian government 157th out of 158 countries on commitment to reducing inequality in areas of education, health and social protection; taxation; and, workers’ rights.

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From the Index, Nigeria has the 5th highest income inequality among the 15 ECOWAS countries including Mauritania.

But the country was “woefully unprepared as COVID-19 hit, spending only five percent of its budget on health and leaving more than 40 percent of Nigerians with no access to universal health services.”

In a response to the development, the country Director of Oxfam Nigeria Dr Victor Ahonsi, charged the Federal Government to invest massively in public education, health and social protection, to tackle poverty, joblessness and other inequalities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the 2021 Tax Summit held in Abuja, the Country Director, Oxfam Nigeria, Dr Vincent Ahonsi, said Nigeria’s poor commitment towards reduction of poverty and inequality was worrisome.

Vanguardngr.com

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LAWMA Sweepers Get Free Breast, Cervical Cancer Screening, Treatment

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LAWMA Sweepers Get Free Breast, Cervical Cancer Screening, Treatment
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LAWMA Sweepers Get Free Breast, Cervical Cancer Screening, Treatment

Hundreds of sweepers and other women engaged by Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) have undergone free breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment, through the agency’s collaboration with Optimal Cancer Care Foundation and Access Bank Plc.

Addressing the beneficiaries at Ijora-Olopa, venue of the exercise, the Managing Director/CEO of LAWMA, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, stressed the importance of regular checks for early detection of cancer cases, noting that early detection of the disease aids its successful management by the victim.

He said, “I took interest in this partnership to let you know that your wellbeing is our priority and we will continue to look after you. The most important thing about this is for you to know your status and avoid having the disease, by listening to all that would be explained by the medical expert here. Prevention, they say, is better than cure”.

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“I appreciate Optimal Cancer Care Foundation and Access Bank for choosing LAWMA for this laudable programme focus on the women. 70 per cent of our workforce are women; the screening exercise is to let you know that we are looking after your health”, he stressed.

LAWMA Sweepers Get Free Breast, Cervical Cancer Screening, Treatment

Odumboni admonished the participants to be mindful of their health in the course of discharging their duties, noting that the importance of getting tested is to know their health status as well as serve as a preventive measure against the disease.

The Medical Director of Optimal Cancer Care Foundation, Dr. Femi Olaleye, lectured the women on self-examination for early detection of cervical and breast cancer and the warning signs, adding that they should immediately consult their doctors, anytime they noticed anything unusual.

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He said his foundation offered discounted and free cancer screenings to help women, in addition to early intervention treatment for those diagnosed with the disease.

The Head of Women Banking, Access Bank Plc, Mrs. Abiodun Olubitan, disclosed that the decision to collaborate with LAWMA and Optimal Cancer Care Foundation on the exercise was informed by the need to create awareness and provide preliminary treatments to women coping with the health challenge.

She stated further that the bank had deployed a lot of resources to connect, empower and inspire women, particularly in the area of health, adding that it is important for women to regularly check themselves, to know their health status.

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One of the beneficiaries of the programme, Mrs. Kehinde Raji, thanked LAWMA for facilitating the event, describing it as a great opportunity to get properly educated and sensitised on the very important health issue.

She said, “I appreciate our Managing Director’s effort. He is a kind man. This screening is such an eye-opener and I have really learnt a lot. I will also tell others about what I have learnt”.

The programme also featured a question and answer session, during which the beneficiaries asked questions on healthcare before they took turns for the screening test.

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