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Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG

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Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors - FG
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Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG

•Says those not paid were illegally employed

•Laments disparity in payment of foreign, Nigerian doctors

•Says some states pay foreign doctors five times higher than Nigerian counterparts

The Federal Government insisted yesterday that resident doctors who were not paid were only those illegally recruited by Chief Medical Directors, CMDs, without necessary approval.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who stated when he received chairman of the Federal Character Commission, FCC, Dr Muheeba Dankaka, and other federal commissioners who paid him a courtesy visit in his office, also expressed concern over the disparity in payment of foreign doctors by some states, warning that such preferential treatment does not encourage national unity and loyalty.

“You people know the mandate for recruitment. The Federal Ministry involved will give approval. The office of the Head of Service of the Federation will give approval. Budget Office will give approval. These three approvals come to you in Federal Character Commission for final approval and issuing of compliance letter. But in the case of these resident doctors, their letters were issued without any of these approvals.

“The CMDs who did that said they thought they could pay them through Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, GFMIS, platform, an ad hoc platform used for sundry expenses. Personnel costs have been removed from GFMIS. That is the problem.

”Every payment for personnel costs is done under Integrated Personal and Payroll Information System, IPPIS. But, now a waiver has been given. It will come to you in the FCC to give compliance certificate.

“We explained to them that it is not a one bus stop thing. It cannot be done in one day. They said no, we are going on strike. You go on strike to force government to regularize an irregularity. It is not done.”“Ngige disclosed that the request for compliance letter would be sent to the FCC by the Federal Ministry of Health before the end of the week and urged the commission to give the request expeditious attention.

Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG

On preferential treatment of foreign doctors by states, Ngige said some states in Nigeria employ foreign doctors and pay them five times higher than they pay their Nigerian counterparts.

He charged the FCC to use its constitutional mandate to promote national unity and loyalty, rather than concentrate efforts only on the public sector, especially in job recruitment.

He also appealed to the commission to ensure equitable distribution of amenities, infrastructure and social services in the country.

The minister said: “The constitution did not say that you do only cases in the public sector. There are areas we need you to look into especially where the constitution is silent.

“We have cases where doctors are employed from Egypt, Cuba and Pakistan and they are paid five times what the Nigerian doctor will get if you convert the foreign exchange they use to pay them.

“But in this country, I was here when some of my teachers left from South East to go and teach in the North East at a time. They left because we had enough down there to export to our brothers. They were paid with our local currency and given some other incentives, which at the end of the day make the economy of those states to be alright.

“Whether you like it or not, if some people are poor in Nigeria in the poverty index rating, when the Nigerian poverty index is being taken, it will be an aggregate, including those places. If it is health, when the health parameters are being taken, it is for the whole. So, FCC can go into that area.”

Ngige urged the FCC to persuade state governments to open up and advertise those jobs, so that Nigerians could come from any part of the country to fill the gap.

He further advised the commission to be revolutionary and do new things, using its broad mandate, established by Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended).

“Our constitution is the Supreme law of the land. And any law made by anybody, whether national and state assembly that is in conflict with constitution is void. So, you people have a strong mandate from the supreme law of the land. I think you should help us build a new country.

“A country where we will not be talking about hatred because it is some of these perceptions that cannot even be separated from reality that breeds all the discontent and hate speeches we see.

“We must strive to unite our country. All these North and South, East and West, they are artificial geographical demarcations. One body that can unite our country is FCC. As you are here now, you are no longer politicians.

“We count on your chairman that wherever she goes to fly the umbrella of justice, freedom and fair play. We need it for Nigerian workers. We need it for Nigerian people. If we distribute schools well, people will go to school in the areas where there are no schools now. The almajiris will get western education. When we educate people, we have liberated them from poverty and ignorance which breeds all these security issues all over,” Ngige said.

He blamed the economic situation which has eaten into individual pockets for worsening labour dispute issues in the country, adding that labour unions were now remembering agreements they signed with the previous adminstartions, some dating back to 2009 and even 2002.

He said: “The President said we are alive to our responsibilities and we do not owe any worker salaries. The president is strong on that and that is why we have not retrenched anybody. He is also strong on the fact that government is a continuum.

“If they now remember that the previous administration owed them 2009, we will not say no. we will say yes. But we will pay you based on our capacity to pay and ability to pay.

“Those allowances can be stretched and we pay you in tranches. That is what we have been doing with ASUU, NASU, and JOHESU.”

Earlier the Chairman of FCC, Dankaka noted that the commission was established to promote the unity of the country and ensure strong and indivisible nation, fostering sense of belonging, fairness, equality and justice.

She said they have the mandate to ensure the fair distribution of infrastructure, amenities and social service, assuring that the commission under her would discharge its mandate in a manner to eschew the feeling of marginalization from any quarters of the country.

Vanguardngr.com

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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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