The ongoing workers strike which has paralyzed the nation’s health sector has remained unresolved despite several attempts by stakeholders to prevent the strike, and negotiate a compromise that works for the government and the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
It is on record that the federal government entered into an agreement with JOHESU in September 2017 which was majorly on salary adjustment. At the moment the disparity between members of JOHESU and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is unacceptable to the health workers which the federal government had promised to address as at September 2017, but no steps were taken to implement the agreement.
The federal government knew JOHESU was serious when it issued an initial 30 working days ultimatum for the implementation of the agreement. After the first period of grace elapsed, JOHESU issued another 21 days ultimatum which also ran out and led to the ongoing strike. The strike has paralysed the entire health sector in the country as patients are being discharged to seek medical attention at private hospitals, those suffering from terminal ailments who need medical attention have been left alone to die.
In the midst of this clearly avoidable crisis, the President announced with ‘joy’ his intention to embark on a 4-day visit to the United Kingdom to see his doctors. Perhaps the president and his aides cannot see the irony of this kind of selfish behaviour, especially because one of President Buhari’s campaign statements was to improve the healthcare system in Nigeria and ban government officials from seeking medical care abroad.
The President has enjoyed the best Medicare from his UK Doctors. His son has also enjoyed the best healthcare from a German hospital after his motorcycle accident. At the moment Nigerians are dying in droves due to no fault of theirs, but for an unconcerned Presidency.