The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Kogi chapter, has urged the State Government to speedily implement the national health policy known as ”Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR)” for the benefits of its members and the state at large.
The state’s NLC Chairman, Comrade Edoka Onu, made the call when he led some labour leaders on a courtesy visit to the Executive Director, Kogi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KSPHCDA), Dr Abubakar Yakubu, in his office in Lokoja.
Onu noted that the bill establishing the PHCUOR had since been passed by the State House of Assembly and signed into law by His Excellency, Gov. Yahaya Bello, on April 25, 2019.
He explained that the full implementation of PHCUOR would enable the Local Government health workers to be moved to the State PHCDA, under one structure, program and management.
He noted that the percentage salary being paid to LG health workers had really affected their performance, thereby hindering the effective and quality healthcare delivery at the grassroots in the state.
”I can assure you one thing that as labour leaders who want quality healthcare delivery for our people at the grassroots, we will partners with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the speedy and full implementation of the PHCUOR by the state government.
”The NLC has keen interest in the speedy implementation of PHCUOR in Kogi state, and we are going to mobilise the Medical and Healthcare Workers in the State and National levels to join the crusade.
”The labour organs has met at every level and have decided that they would join in the struggle to ensure that PHCUOR is fully implemented so that its benefits from the national level will not elude us in the state.
”We will go on social media, on pages of newspapers and calling for the freedom of health workers from the local government, and ensure that they are incorporated into the PHC Under One Roof, at the cost of the union.
”I am sure that his Excellency has not been thoroughly briefed about the full benefits of PHCUOR for government and the people of the state,” he said.
He stressed that the request of the labour organs was for the Governor to give an executive order for the full implementation of the PHCUOR policy, so that all the LG health workers would be moved to the State PHCDA.
He added the organised labour were also pressing on Government to ensure that the salaries of all the state’s health workers go back to 100 per cent because they remained the front line workers in the fight against Covid-19.
In his reponse, the Executive Director of KGPHCDA, Dr Abubakar Yakubu, commended the labour leaders for partnering with the agency, saying, ”there are many things the partnership between Labour and KGPHCDA will bring to both the Agency and the union.
According to Yakubu, PHCUOR is the policy direction of the Federal Government to see that the primary health structure at the Local government level is collapsed under one umbrella of the agency.
”It means the primary healthcare structure at the local government level will now have to be under the state PHC.
”This was followed by a Bill that passed through all the rigorous platforms in the State House of Assembly being as an Executive Bill, and was eventually signed into law on April 25, 2019, by the Governor.
”Almost immediately, after the passage of that law, we have an implementation committee that was put in place, and was inaugurated by Hon Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu
”But unfortunately, the coming together of that committee became difficult; even though we had two meetings that were not productive.
”The speed at which we want the PHCUOR to go, is not going the way we wanted it because of some bottlenecks in the implementation,” Yakubu said.
He stressed the need for the Local Government Service Commission, and the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, to be mandated to bring the primary healthcare structure under the local government to the agency.
”Unless, this is done, it will be difficult to implement the PHCUOR..
”Unfortunately, the movement of staff from LG to the agency cannot be stopped because it is a national policy, which had also been signed into law by the Governor.
”Many States of the federation have already implemented the policy, but Kogi is one of the few States that is yet to implement the policy.
”If this policy is implemented in Kogi, the Save One Million Lives (SOML) will give the KGPHCDA the sum of $500, 000 US Dollars, for just moving the LG health workers to the agency, to be used to put the necessary structure in order after the movement.
”In addition, when the SOML see the activities of the agency and are impressed, the SOML will give the agency additional $300, 000,” he said.
Yakubu, however noted that the SOML would be winding down at the end of this year 2020, saying unless there was another consideration for extension.
”But if the implementation is done fast, we will get the money before the end of this year,” he said.