Health workers oppose call for public hospitals’ sale

The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals has urged the Federal Government to disregard any call for the privatisation of public hospitals in the country.

The National President of the union, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna, who addressed newsmen at the University College Hospital, Ibadan on Wednesday, said the move would increase the cost of health care delivery beyond what the masses could afford.

He also accused the Nigeria Medical Association of championing the call for privatisation of public hospitals.

Ogbonna said, “Members of the union vehemently condemn the move by the government to privatise some hospitals in Nigeria as being canvassed by medical practitioners. Health care delivery is a social service that an average Nigerian should enjoy as subsidised by the government. By the time this social service is privatised, an average Nigerian will not be able to access and afford health care services.

“It is alarming to note that some state governments have started the concession of some general hospitals to private investors, leading to loss of jobs and high cost of health care services. The union frowns on this development and calls on such states to rescind the action in the interest of peace and that of the masses.”

The union also called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to appoint a member of the NMA as the health minister, saying past members of the association who had served as health ministers destabilised the sector.

“Since 1985 when the late Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti was appointed as health minister to the past minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Federal Ministry of Health has been bedevilled with a series of industrial crisis due to poor administrative performance by the ministers.

“The Decree 10 of 1985, which governs our teaching hospitals, is being wrongly interpreted for selfish gains of some people in the sector, leading to the introduction of discriminatory remuneration packages in favour of medical practitioners. The union, therefore, urge President Buhari to inject the needed change in the health sector by appointing a member of NUAHP as the next health minister,” Ogbonna added.