The Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria has announced that Government has granted approval for the implementation of a Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for Pharmacists, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Physiotherapists, Radiology and Imaging Scientists, Optometrists, Nurses and other Health workers in the Federal Medical Agencies. This is in addition to the approval given for the new Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) to cater for Medical and Dental Officers in Federal Agencies by the Government earlier on in September this year.
The approval is in line with the understanding reached with the Inter Agency Committee with which the umbrella body of the professionals (Joint Health sector Unions) negotiated and agreed on the new structure.
The Inter Agency Committee is the body that was set up by the Government in response to the agitations by workers in the entire health sector to dialogue and bring about the much desired peace and sanity in the sector.
The Joint Health Sector Unions had earlier on threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action further to the approval of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) by Government, an arrangement which did not cover other health unions.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Health then made it clear to the Unions at that time that the new CONHESS is being negotiated and it is planned that CONHESS will be concluded upon and approved before January 2010 when the implementation of CONMESS is expected to commence along with that of the other professionals as the schedule now indicates.
The approval granted by Government in this regard marks a watershed in Government-Labour relations in the health sector as the welfare of professionals in the entire sector is being improved for the first time in one fell swoop without any industrial action whatsoever.
The Federal Ministry of Health seized the opportunity to reaffirm the importance that Government attaches to every category of worker in the health sector as worthy partners in the onerous task of quality health care delivery to all Nigerians. Every worker was urged to continue to support and cooperate with the Government so that the human capacity development agenda of government can be attained.