AHAPN Tasks FG on Single-Spine salary structure for Health Workers
By Chinwe Imo-Eze Onwosi
The Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) have tasked the Federal Government (FG) to introduce a single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners.
In a statement jointly signed by the association’s national chairman Mr Olabode Ogunjemiyo and secretary Mr Oladele Obikoya, and made available to THE VOICE on Tuesday in Abakaliki, the group noted that the single-spine salary structure would usher in permanent industrial harmony in the health sector.
They urged the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to embrace modern medicine and jettison ‘medieval’ era practice
The association frowned at the prolonged professional rivalry between NMA and other health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and appealed to the FG to initiate a single-spine salary regime for all health workers.
The initiative the association noted would be based on the job evaluation report in the health sector submitted in February 2008 by the inter agency committee set up by FG on the matter.
The statement added that the report prescribed a salary relativity ratio of 10 is to 8.57 is to 7.12 between medical doctors and pharmacists/other health professionals and others respectively.
The association said that the single-spine salary model had been adopted by the government of Ghana for their health workforce and stressed that it has engendered peace, harmony and stability in the sector with the attendant better health indices.
The association condemned the reaction of the NMA to the recent 15 days ultimatum and commencement of an indefinite strike action notice by JOHESU to FG.
The statement alleged that NMA had described some of the demands of JOHESU as inappropriate and capable of violating existing agreement between it and the FG which could plung the health sector into needless labour unrest.
The demands included; upward review of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), non-discriminatory hazard allowance, implementation of consultancy cadre for pharmacists.
The association also demanded for the promotion of hospital-based consultants to Chief Executive Officers of tertiary hospitals.
The statement read: “The NMA is challenging the position of JOHESU on residency training programme for its members and creation of Consultant Pharmacist cadre.
“NMA alleges that the demand for the implementation of the Pharmacist consultant cadre is a breach of the ruling of the National Industrial Court which places the authority of such creation in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).
“The association in debunking NMA’s false claims set the records straight with supporting documents from the FG and also stated the existence of the Pharmacist consultant cadre in the public service of countries like U.K, USA, France, Australia and neighboring Ghana.
“The NMA’s opposition is contained in a letter to Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, dated Sept. 7, 2021 and jointly signed by the President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, and General Secretary, Dr Phillips Ekpe.”
It added that the NMA had contended the positions of JOHESU claiming that the association was not aware of any residency training programme in teaching hospitals, specialist hospitals and federal medical centres.
The pharmacists which vowed commitment to enthronment of industrial peace in the health sector urged the medical doctors to jettison ‘medieval’ era practice of the profession and embrace modern medicine anchored on teamwork for patients’ best outcome.
“The NMA should understand that orthodox health care practice is not indigenous to Nigeria.
“Therefore, its modus operandi in the country cannot be dictated and driven by the whimsical and capricious proclivities of NMA contrary to what is obtainable at the global arena,” the document said.
The statement portrayed NMA’s alleged denial of residency programme for pharmacists as mere deception, as it cited the particular circular via the FMoH that gave approval for the residency training of pharmacists.
“The ministry of health had on Sept. 22, 2015 approved the use of its facilities as sites for residency training for the students of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists.
“The approval was made vide a circular, reference number FDS/231/04/11/68 signed by the Permanent Secretary.
“It is important that NMA be reminded that residency programmes are not only applicable to medicine but also Pharmacy and Nursing in other climes notably USA.
“In the USA, physicians, pharmacists and nurses undergo residency training where you either pay the facilities to undergo the training or you receive remuneration as salary and you are thereafter bonded for a period.
” In adopting the above model in Nigeria, emigration of residents in medicine will be stemmed.
“Perhaps, NMA imagines that medicine is superior to every other profession. NMA should appreciate that modern healthcare provision is anchored on teamwork by the different professionals with the patient at the centre of the care matrix.
“Besides, NMA should note that professions exist to serve humanity and new ones are emerging in response to the activities of human existence.
“Everyone cannot belong to a single profession; it is appropriate to state that the bottom line of all care efforts in the patient care chain is to treat the patient to get healed from ailment.
“Doing this, requires the use of drugs which are tiny molecules prepared, handled and managed by the pharmacist and it remains the most potent weapon in disease treatment and patient care/management,” the statement added.
The association noted that pharmacists remained one of the most exposed professionals in terms of risk in the hospital environment as they were exposed to risk of infection during patients counseling, chemical hazards, physical and psychological agents.
The group canvassed for parity in determining hazard allowance of all health professionals in the ongoing negotiation with FG.