Succour may come on the way of families of healthcare workers who die at the frontline of COVID-19 pandemic, as the House of Representative Committee on Health Services has said that plans are on the way for them to receive financial benefits.
This is as the National President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, MHWUN, Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye has told the legislative and executive arms of government to prioritise the needs and demands of healthcare workers, warning that the delayed payment of deferred and adjusted salaries was a ticking time bomb.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy visit to tMHWUN, in Abuja, Chairman of the House Committee on Health Services, Hon. Tanko Sununu said the National Assembly was still reviewing the manner of compensation that should be made available to the affected families. He said that the House under the leadership of Femi Gbajiabiamila has set up a committee to interface and interfere in all pending issues concerning the payment and welfare of health workers.
The lawmaker urged the aggrieved workers who have been threatening to down tools over the government’s unfair treatment, to consider the millions of lives such an action could put at risk.
He said the committee’s primary responsibility was not only to ensure all demands of health workers in the country were met but to also promote harmony in the sector.
According to him, “We are not unmindful of our health workers in the frontline who paid the ultimate price. This is why we are working out a plan to compensate their families.
“A committee has been set up. We will call for a public hearing where the strategy and method to be used in disbursing the compensations will be agreed on. The families of the deceased will be located and we must ensure the money reaches them.
“Our aim is to ensure there is no disharmony anymore in the health sector. We are reaching out to major stakeholders and negotiating their demands to ensure health workers continue with their work with no hitches or grievances.”
The MHWUN President, Biobelemoye commended the efforts and concern of the National Assembly in the welfare of healthcare workers including the steps being taken to back the consolidated revenue provision of one per cent by law.
He called for increased funding of the health sector and budgetary provision to fund the salary adjustments.
He said, “We are doing so much and our people are showing so much understanding within this period because its COVID time but you can’t expect people to be patient all through forever.
“Government said there is no money but they are planning to pay private school teachers who are not even under the employment of the government. We that are in the forefront contending with the salvage how will you then explain to us government does not have the money to pay our deferred salaries of April and May 2018, and the withheld salaries in FMC Owerri, JUTH, LUTH and others. How will you convince us?
“We are not against the government trying to help out private schools, but if you are helping the private schools why can’t you help us. Is it justifiable to keep the salaries of those who are in the war front?
“We are appealing to the executive; quickly address these matters because they are ticking time bombs and they should not allow them to be detonated before they come to the rescue because any detonated bomb does not have positive results, its always negative.”