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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG
The National President, National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige
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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

Striking members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors have said that they may shift ground on their ongoing strike that started on August 2 if they see signs that the Federal Government will honour agreements and clear some outstanding payments.

The outstanding payments the association is expecting the government to settle before they can consider ending the strike include death benefits of members who died during COVID-19 pandemic and salary arrears among others.

It was further learnt that the leadership of NARD and that of the Nigerian Medical Association would be meeting the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Friday in continuation of efforts to end the strike.

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Our correspondent gathered that the issue of review of hazard allowance will feature prominently in the Friday meeting.

Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

An earlier meeting NARD and NMA had with the minister on Tuesday was said to have been postponed due to the failure of both parties to agree.

When contacted on the telephone on Wednesday, NARD’s Secretary General, Jerry Isogun, confirmed the development to our correspondent.

Resident doctors, FG tell court they’re open to negotiation
However, the Federal Government and NARD on Wednesday told the National Industrial Court, Abuja that they were open to negotiations in order to end the ongoing strike action.

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They disclosed this to Justice Bashar Alkali when the matter came up in court.

The counsel for the resident doctors, Femi Falana (SAN), prayed the court to direct the parties to return to the negotiation table.

The counsel for the Federal Government, Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), responded that the matter at hand was of a special breed.

He told the court that the parties were earlier sent to an industrial arbitral panel, but the arbitral process failed.

However, Maduka told the court that the Federal Government was still open to negotiations.

Consequently, the court fixed its ruling on the ongoing dispute between the Federal Government and the resident doctors for September 17.

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Falana had raised the issue of the court’s jurisdiction and had sought that his application challenging the court’s jurisdiction be taken.

But Maduka stated that the issue of contempt had yet to be taken and argued that the issue of contempt should take precedence over the issue of jurisdiction.

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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.

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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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