Gov Diri canvasses harmonized salary Structure for health workers in Nigeria


Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri says harmonization of the salary structure of all classes of medical personnel in the country as a panacea to check the unending wage-related industrial crises in the health sector.

This is just as the former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government to quickly resolve the ongoing industrial conflict to save lives in the country.

Both leaders spoke at the 57th Annual Scientific Conference organized by the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa,

The Governor, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said all personnel in the healthcare delivery chain were important and therefore should be treated fairly on the platform of equity.

According to Senator Diri, medical laboratory scientists are indispensable to the physician’s ability to properly diagnose and treat ailments in the health system.

He posited that although the medical laboratory profession is at the forefront of investigating diseases, it has not been accorded the recognition it rightly deserves in Nigeria.

The Bayelsa Chief Executive, however, maintained that only harmonized salary system in the health sector can restore equity and address the problem of incessant strike actions being embarked upon by the various professions in the sector.

Governor Diri, who urged the Federal Government to carry out a holistic reform in the health sector, suggested that states and local governments should be given more responsibilities and resources to provide services to the people.

He said the Federal Government is currently being overwhelmed by the challenges in the health sector, hence there is the urgent need for devolution of power to save the sector from total collapse

His words: “I want to call on the Federal Government to carry out a holistic reform in the health sector of our country. The salaries and allowances for all categories of health personnel in Nigeria should be harmonized.

“All personnel in the health sector are important and should be treated on the platform of equity. The medical laboratory scientists are involved in the proper investigation of diseases, but they are least recognized in Nigeria.

“Only an harmonized salary structure in the health sector will bring about equity. Experience has shown that if you satisfy the medical doctors, the nurses would complain.

“If you satisfy the nurses, then the pharmacists will complain; if you satisfy the pharmacists, the environmental health workers would complain and come up with their own fresh demands.

“Let’s reflect on this issue of disparity of pay package in the health sector in this conference. However, here in Bayelsa State, the challenges facing the AMLSN are being addressed by government, as follow up to our health summit. We are working on the legal framework, and also to incorporate task-shifting to achieve better results and outcomes.”

Speaking as a special guest of honour, former President Jonathan acknowledged the role medical laboratory scientists played in providing the first line of strong defence against the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Dr. Jonathan, stressed the need for government and the striking resident doctors to resolve there differences to save lives, adding that only a thriving health sector could prepare a nation for all emergencies.

In his keynote address, Dr. Azibapu Eruani, called for effective collaboration in funding and promotion of research in preparing against the outbreak of any pandemic in the future to forestall its attendant human, social and economic losses.

The Federal Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, said the AMLSN was in the forefront of building capacity for guiding medical doctors in the handling of clinical cases and treatment of patients.

Represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Dr. Dennis Alagoa, the Minister said President Muhammadu Buhari had set up the health sector reform committee to address challenges facing the sector and improve healthcare delivery in the country.