AUSTIN OYIBODE, EDITOR
Over 200 nurses under the aegis of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives drawn from the 25 local government areas of Delta state on Thursday besieged the premises of the state local government service commission, demanding for the reversal of certain actions and decisions taken by the state government, with particular reference to the administration of the primary health centres (PHCs) in the state.
The placard carrying angry nurses said the actions and policies of the government which are almost rendering the nurses irrelevant in the administration of the primary health centres run counter to the demands of the nursing and medical profession.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Commissioner for health, what did we do to deserve this treatment?; review the appointment of executive secretaries; let the executive secretaries stop signing pay vouchers of PHC departments, they are staff of the state government; executive secretaries should stop oppressing nurses; our right has been taken away from us.”
Speaking during the protest, secretary of the nursing association in Delta state, Comrade Frank Okoh, said all nurses in the state are suffering over the running of the PHCs in the local government areas.
He said: “We have written several letters but nobody is listening to us. If we remain like this there will be crisis. We are being oppressed at different levels. We are expressing our fears over the manner the one room policy is being implemented.
He said the nurses in the state are being relegated to the background as the executive secretaries in the council area have taken over the PHCs in the councils.
Not less than five copies of different letters which were written by the association were made available to our reporter dating back to April, June and October of 2018 but all efforts of the nurses had yielded no fruitful results.
The nurses are demanding a reversal of the existing order in the administration of the PHCs, insisting that the executive secretaries should hands off from the administration of the primary health centres in the council areas.
Also, the nurses condemned in strong terms the casualisation of nurses in the PHCs, saying it is against the rules of labour to casualise nurses and pay them N30,000 monthly.
They demanded a review of the duties of the office of the executive secretaries, relocation of the executive secretaries from the local government secretariats and they should stop harassing the nurses.
They also demanded that the executive secretaries should stop functioning as PHC coordinators and stop signing pay vouchers for nurses.
Chairman of the local government service commission who received the protesting nurses, Olumami Oyibo, promised to look into all the issues raised, saying they will be treated without bias as the messages will be passed to the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa
He said the governor is prepared to look into all the issues raised, adding that the issue of the executive secretaries will be looked into, analysis will be made and appropriate recommendations will also be made and forwarded to the governor for consideration and implementation.