Following last minute approval of its request for payment of uniform allowance for its members by the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the leadership of the state’s chapter of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has rescinded its decision to down tools.
The decision by the union, which has the largest number of healthcare workers in the state, to withdraw its services over what it described as disparity in the payment of the uniform allowance among the nurses in the employ of the state’s ministry of health, primary healthcare board, health service commission and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) was reported on Monday.
The union also identified many other challenges including stagnation of its members, acute shortage of workforce, high attrition rate and the need for retention allowance, retrospective approval and regularisation for nurses, among others.
At a briefing held at its secretariat in Ikeja on Tuesday, the union expressed appreciation to the governor for the last-minute approval for the payment of the allowance.
According to the chairman of the union in the state, Olurotimi Awojide, the governor has given express approval for the payment of the allowances for the excluded category of nurses and that the payment would reflect in the workers’ September salaries.
“You would recall that the association issued a 21-day ultimatum over the payment of a statutory uniform allowance to the government which elapsed today. It is for us a litmus test to draw our final conclusions on the readiness and responsiveness of the Lagos State Government to the issues of nurses and the healthcare system. But the government has promised to pay the allowance with the September 2021 salary which is due in a few days.” he said.
He, however, noted that the union would still embark on industrial action should the government fail to attend to other issues of concern that have been highlighted in many of its correspondences to the government.
NO CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION
Despite the government’s pledge, the union has said nurses in the state have nothing to celebrate yet.
This was part of the position of the union during its annual scientific conference to mark this year’s international nurses week.
Mr Awojide said: “Today’s programme should ordinarily be an extension of the annual international nurses week which is held globally to celebrate the landmark contributions of Florence Nightingale to modern day nursing science and to spotlight and appreciate the important work of nurses and midwives who are the nucleus of the healthcare system.
“But as it stands today, there is virtually nothing that calls for celebration by nurses in Lagos and by extension, Nigeria, except the appreciation of our relentless and patriotic commitment to the health and wellbeing of our clients and patients.”
The union also noted that a good pointer to the state of affairs of nurses and midwives and their condition of work is the rate at which members are leaving the system out of frustration.