Buhari’s Health Reform C’ttee: Unhappy JOHESU Writes Presidency

The Joint
Heaith Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have written to president Muhammadu Buhari, over the composition of the newly inaugurated National Health Reform Committee, headed By vice president Yemi Osinbajo

The letter signed by JOHESU acting National Secretary M.O Ajorutu says it wishes to on behalf of menbers of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) consisting of about 95% of the public healthcare workforce in Nigeria to
most sincerely apprecicte you for you major interventions in the health
sector in recent time.

The setting up this week of a high level mu!ti-sectorai
Health Reforn Convaittee under 1he Chairmanship of His Exceliency,Professor Yemi Osirbajo, SAN, GCON the Vice President of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria is a Testament to this assertion.

However, the composition of the Committee is unacceptable to health
professionals and professionals who are members of JOHESU.

Typical of the
process involved in the sharing of benefit packages, and resources in the
health sector, the reform Committee with over 95% presence of physicians
already negates rhe rights arid liberties of the majority of health workers in
Nigeria.

The comnittee of this nature have slots for Director General,
Federal Competition and Ccnsumer Protection Council but not an agency like
NAFDAC which regulates aii the drugs, medical devices, equiprnent,hemicals, e t c which are the essentiai tools and commodities which driveany credible health system.

We observe with consternation that the Unions in the health sector are not included in the committee. The inclusion of National Association of Nigeria Nurses
and Midwives (NANNM) is professional association representafion. What is the
significance of this reform process if it does not bequeatha legacy of equity To health worker’s who remain the human resource to reckon with in this reform bid?

It is unthinkable that a strategic arm of the health sector like JOHESU is ignored
in this reform committee. The JOHESU affiliated registered trade unions are:

Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN)
National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM)
Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP)
Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research
and other Associated Institutions (5SAUTHRIAT)

IV.

Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Instifufions

(NASU)

Your Excellency, JOHESU noted with reservation, the inclusion of the Director
General, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE). This is sending a signal that the
Federal Government is preparing grounds for the privatisafion of public health
institutions. JOHESU urges Your Excellency to be wary of any vested inferesST
push for such privatisation that is capable of undermining job security and possible
job losses in the health sector. This will portend great danger to fhe qualitY
affordability and accessibility of health care services in Nigeria. It is also going to
constifute a social-economic fhreat fo the already huge population of unemployed citizen.

While commending Your Excellency for this landmark and hisforic infervenfion,
JOHESU noted with great concern the skewed nafure of the composiTion of the
committee. JOHESU urge Your Excellency to include the representatives of the
five registered health sector unions affiliated to it and remaining health
professional associations in the spirit of equitable and fair stakeholders
represenfations.