Thursday, the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has demanded the sack of health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu during a protest at the ministry headquarters where the minister failed to address them.
JOHESU, which has been in protracted disagreement with the health ministry over conditions in the health sector and the National Health Bill, staged a protest at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, but members were told the minister could not see them. Officials of the ministry told protesters that Onyebuchi was before the National Assembly.
JOHESU—an umbrella group for medical and health workers union, nurses and midwives, pharmacists, technologists, staff of health-allied institutions and research establishments—accused the minister of turning the ministry of health into a “ministry of doctors.”
“The minister of health has failed in realising the mandate given to him at appointment as minister of health,” said Dr Ayuba Waba, chairman of JOHESU.
Demand for the minister’s sack comes after the union, which has consistenly complained of the health ministry’s bias in favour of medical doctors and against other health professionals, called off its latest strike this year.
Among its demands, the unions want the report of a presidential committee which considered the harnonisation of the health sector to be “implemented immediately.”
The protesters took their grievances over the National Health Bill to the National Assembly, and waited hours before they were attended to.
Chairman of the committee on health in the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, who spoke to the protesters called their demand of the minister’s sack a “technical” challenge but said all their complaints would be considered.
The committee has requested that a JOHESU member sit on the committee to protect the union’s interest in any consideration of the bill.