COVID-19 : Imo Govt Tasks Journalists On Improved Collaboration To Fight Epidemic
Imo State governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, has harped on the need for improved collaboration with media actors as the world battles the corona virus epidemic.
Uzodinma said this at the state secretariat in Owerri on Wednesday while briefing journalists on the level of preparedness of the state ministry of health to combat the deadly disease.
The governor who was represented by the permanent secretary , Imo State Ministry of Health, Dr Anthony Igwe, said that the role of the media in effective information dissemination cannot be overemphasized.
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He added that the state had already devised measures to combat the virus although it was yet to record a case.
He further said that the masses could only know how much effort was being put by government and have their fears allayed if there was a robust information network.
He listed the proactive measures taken by the state government to include the use of infrared thermometers at the Sam Mbakwe airport, motor parks and the six major entry points into the state for screening of passengers.
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He however said that the state was faced with challenges such as ignorance on the part of the populace and limited resources.
The governor commended journalists for their role so far while advising Imo residents to temporarily avoid large gatherings such as burial ceremonies and crusades.
” As the world battles the corona virus epidemic, the role of the media in social mobilisation through adequate information dissemination for public sensitisation and information gathering cannot be overemphasized.
” We urge you to remain proactive and committed to this course for the good of our state, country and humanity in general as our people can only know how much we are doing if they are well informed “, he said.
Also speaking, the ministry’s director of public health, Dr Austin Okeji said that the ministry had activated isolation centres in the ten general hospitals in the state with two centres in each hospital, male and female respectively.
Okeji said that the centres which are expected to receive persons screened with symptoms and may need to be quarantined would work hands in glove with response centres at Primary Health Care centres .
He also said that the ministry had begun conducting sensitisation workshops for clinicians and health workers as well as distributed personal protective equipment to health workers.
He added that the ministry was collaborating with its education counterpart for compulsory hand washing in schools as according to him, arrangements were also being made for the distribution of hand sanitisers to schools and health facilities.
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He thanked the governor for the provision of quick response ambulances for conveying suspected patients to isolation centres while assuring that the ministry was prepared to mitigate spread of the virus in the event of an outbreak.
” We have not been idle. Various cogent measures have been put in place to ensure one hundred per cent readiness in the event of an outbreak “, he said.
JUST IN: Health Workers Begin Indefinite Strike
The Joint Health Sector Unions and the Assembly of Health Care Professional Association have directed their members to embark on an indefinite strike.
The National Vice President of JOHESU, Dr Obinna Ogbonna said this at a press briefing held in Abuja on Thursday.
JOHESU is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities’ Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.
The leadership of JOHESU had in a letter dated May 9, 2023, issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over alleged inconsistencies of the government in the ongoing negotiations to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure for health workers on their platforms.
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The 15-day ultimatum commenced on May 10, 2023, and will expire at midnight on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
Obinna said, “It becomes imperative to inform you that since the Federal Government is yet to meet these demands, our members have been directed by the JOHESU National Executive Council to proceed on an indefinite strike action upon expiration of the ultimatum by midnight of May 25, 2023.”
BREAKING: Trouble Looms As FG Declares Doctors’ Strike Illegal, To Implement No-work-no-pay
The Federal Government has warned members of the National Association of Resident Doctors to shelve their planned five-day warning strike, describing it as illegal.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, issued the warning today shortly after receiving a letter from the NARD executive notifying him of the impending industrial action, billed to commence midnight today, May 16, 2023
Reacting to the letter, dated May 16, 2023 and delivered to his office at about 5pm same day, Ngige said on receiving the letter, he contacted the Minister of Health, who informed him that a meeting has been scheduled by his office with the resident doctors on Wednesday, May 17.
He therefore advised the doctors to avail themselves of the opportunity for social dialogue with their employer, rather than embark on a warning strike, which is unknown to the law.
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He said, “I will advise them to attend the meeting with the Minister of Health tomorrow. I will also advise them very strongly not to go on five-day warning strike. There is nothing like warning strike. A strike is a strike.
“If they want to take that risk, the options are there. It is their decision. They have the right to strike. You cannot deny them that right. But their employer has another right under Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, to withhold their pay for those five days.
“So, if the NARD has strike funds to pay their members for those five days, no problem. The Health Minister will instruct the teaching hospitals to employ adhoc people for those five days and they will use the money of the people who went on strike to pay the adhoc doctors. That is the ILO principles at decent work, especially for those rendering essential services. Lives should be protected. One of my sons is a resident doctor. I will advise him to go to work and sign the attendance register. The people seen at work are the ones to receive their pay. If you don’t work, there will be no pay.”
Commenting on the five demands of the doctors, Ngige said the Federal Government lacks the powers to compel the states to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Fund, since health is in the residual list, where both the federal and state governments have the powers to legislate.
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According to him, the job of the Federal Government is to make policy and where the states disagree, they are at liberty to make their own policy.
He added that the federal government cannot bully the states into domesticating the MRTF if they do not want to.
Regarding the issue of immediate payment of the MRTF to their members, he said it was appropriated in the 2023 budget, but has not been released, as the 2022 budget was still running, adding that those in 2022 have all been paid.
He denied the claim by NARD that the Federal Government did not pay minimum wage consequential adjustment arrears to their members, saying that all workers in the Education and Health Sectors, and even the defence agencies benefited from the adjustment.
He noted that the doctors cannot declare nationwide strike because some states were owing their members, pointing out that the federal government cannot also dabble into the issue, being a state matter.
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Similarly, he said the Federal Government as the Executive arm of government cannot intervene in the bill at the National Assembly to bond doctors for five years, as it is a private member’s bill.
According to him, any intervention by the executive on the matter impinges on the autonomy and independence of the legislative arm of government.
Ngige said although the bill has passed through first and second reading, he was sure it would be shot down at the public hearing, since the law prohibits forced labour.
He advised the doctors not to talk about 200 percent pay rise, as it was not feasible, adding that “besides all the government has done for doctors and other workers in the health sector, such as upward review of hazard allowances, the Nigeria Medical Association was already negotiating with the Federal Ministry of Health, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and the Presidential Committee on Salaries on pay rise for doctors.
“It is incongruous for student doctors to embark on strike when consultants training them were already negotiating with the Federal Government.”
UBTH @50: Management, Staff, Patients Embark On 5km Walk To Promote Preventive Health Care
Management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), on Monday, organised a 5 kilometer Walk as a way of promoting preventive health care among Nigerians.
Speaking during the Fitness Walk, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, Chief Medical Director, UBTH, said that walking, as a form of exercise, had proven to help prevent a lot of diseases ranging from hypertension, diabetes and some cancers.
Obaseki, while speaking to journalists shortly after the walk tagged “Walk for Life,” said the event was part of activities to celebrate the hospital’s 50th anniversary.
He said, “Engaging in different forms of exercise helps to keep the body fit and healthy.
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“The walk for life is a way to sensitize the public on the benefit of walking and how walking helps in preventing numerous diseases.
“The first step in health care is disease prevention, hence we are creating awareness about the need to exercise always”.
He said that most patients visited the hospital for curative purposes, noting that healthy living which involved regular exercise was key to disease prevention.
“One of the dangers of modern day style of living is the sedentary life style. So many persons sit in their offices from morning to night without exercising their bodies.
“Once you are fit and have the right weight, a lot of diseases can be prevented”, he said.
Speaking to traders at Uselu market, Dr Taiwo Oyewumi, Head of Physiotherapy department, UBTH, regretted that only a few per cent of Nigerians engage in regular exercises.
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Oyewumi said, “Exercise is the cheapest way to stay healthy, and it is recommended that an individual does about 7,000 steps a day for healthy living.
“People who do exercise don’t fall ill often. Doing exercises makes you sleep well, improves brain function, and reduces bad cholesterol and hypertension.
“Exercise at less 10 to 15 minutes a day because exercise is good for your health”
The 5km walk started from UBTH premises at Ugbowo through Uselu market and back to UBTH premises.
Participants included UBTH board members, staff, students, patients and their families, fitness enthusiasts, journalists and other members of the public.
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