Lawmakers promise financial benefits for fallen healthcare workers

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Lawmakers in the Federal House of Representatives at a sitting

FEDERAL lawmakers say there are plans to provide financial benefits to families of healthcare workers who died at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Mr Yusuf Tanko-Sununu disclosed this on Friday when the committee visited the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, (MHWUN) in Abuja.

Tanko-Sununu said, “lawmakers are mindful of health workers in the frontline who paid the ultimate price. This is why we are working out a plan to compensate their families.

“A committee has been set up. We as lawmakers will call for a public hearing where the strategy and method to be used in disbursing the compensations will be agreed on.

“The families of the deceased will be located and we must ensure that we reach out to them.”

Tanko-Sununu urged the workers threatening to down tools over government’s unfair treatment to consider the million of lives such action could put at risk.

He said: “COVID-19 has exposed the health system and we are in a situation where the haves and have-nots are situated in the same place and so no one travels.

“We must, therefore, ensure that our health infrastructure is improved.

“There is need for a health care system that average Nigerians can be proud of. Every person is important under this government.

“Without the services of lower cadre, the higher professional cannot carry out their job.

“We must manage our differences to ensure we understand ourself and move the country forward. We must come together to rescue this nation,” he said.

He, however, added that the committee’s primary responsibility was not only to ensure all demands of health workers in the country were met, but to also promote harmony in the sector.

The National President of MHWUN, Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, urged the legislative and executive arms to prioritise the needs and demands of healthcare workers.

Biobelemoye said that the delay in the payment of deferred and adjusted salaries of health workers was a time bomb.

He commended the National Assembly for taking steps to back the consolidated revenue provision of one per cent by law.

He said: “We are in the fore front contending with the situation. We are doing so much and our people are showing so much understanding because it’s COVID-19 period, but you cannot expect people to be patient all through for ever.

“Government said there is no money but they are planning to pay private school teachers who are not even under the employment of government.

“How will you then explain to us that government does not have the money to pay our deferred salaries of April and May 2018, and the withheld salaries in FMC Owerri, JUTH, LUTH and others? How will you convince us?

“We are not against government trying to help out private schools, but if you are helping the private schools, why can’t you help us?

He appealed to the Executive to quickly address the issues to avoid an industrial action.

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