The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) has urged the Federal Government and States across the country to give special priority to motivating health workers and provide the necessary protective equipment to shield them from the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
The National President, Biobelemoye Josiah of the MHWUN, made this known on Monday in a statement in Abuja.
He however, said the union is concerned about the decision by the Federal Government relaxing the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, as this is likely to cause a spike in the already increasing numbers of cases in the country.
He advised its member to apply wisdom in attending to patients and observe all known protocols to ensure that they stay safe. “They should see every patient as a suspected COVID-19 carrier but be polite when dealing with such patients, unless proved otherwise.”
According to him, “MHWUN, being front line workers in the fight against the dreaded disease, we are concerned that the easing of the lockdown will bring about dramatic increase in the number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.
“While we commend the efforts of the federal government for the steps so far taken in the fight against the disease, we call for caution and stringent measures to ensure that the decision to ease the lock down does not take us back to level zero where new cases will spring up to the extent that the hitherto weak, and further weakened health system and ill-motivated health workers will be overwhelmed. This certainly will be disastrous.
“MHWUN therefore, advice the federal and states governments to make available more testing (including rapid test kits) and isolation centres to accommodate more people in case the unwanted happens.
“They (governments) also need to provide large quantities of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other consumables to health workers at all levels to enable them do their work professionally. This is important because the health worker is not on a ‘kamikaze’ mission, hence must be alive and healthy before he/she can save other lives.
“Our members at all levels need to be carried along and be involved in all decision making processes so that they can make input as well as feedback to members in real time.
“The governments at all levels must also find ways of motivating health workers so that they can put in their very best.
“We, therefore call on the FG to further demonstrate her compassion, commitments and appreciation of the sacrifice of the health workers by ordering the release of all withheld salaries of health workers.”
The MHWUN, while appealing to the federal government to pay all withheld salaries of its members in FMC Owerri, LUTH, JUTH etc., also urged all States and Local Governments to implement the new Minimum Wage (CONHESS).
He added: “Considering also that Nigeria has gotten to the stage of community transmission of the COVID-19, we call on the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to fast-track the training/retooling it has begun for primary healthcare personnel in the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT to equip them with the appropriate knowledge and skills to carry out their tasks. This will enable them understand the mode of transmission of the virus and its preventive measures.
“With over 100 medical and health workers in the country already infected with COVID-19, we call on our members to apply wisdom and observe all known protocols to ensure that they stay safe. They should see every patient as a suspected COVID-19 carrier but be Polite when dealing with such patients, unless proved otherwise.”