The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has called on governments at all levels to end medical tourism by improving funding to the health sector.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a ceremony to mark the 2020 Global Day of Action on Care.
This year’s ceremony has the theme: “Invest in Care Now!’’
Wabba said that the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the neglect of the healthcare industry in the country.
According to him, COVID-19 has fully exposed several countries, including Nigeria, as not having invested enough in health care institutions, putting everyone, both rich and poor, at high risks.
”The theme: ‘Invest in Care Now!’ is to drum up demands for heavy investments in the care sector by our Government and big businesses, if we must keep a healthy society and productive human resource base.
“Apart from the open fact that our health care sector has been neglected for too long, health care workers have been subjected to unfair treatment for too long.
“Essential workers, as they are often called at crisis times, do not have the necessary personal protective equipment to work with, especially before the outbreak of COVID-19.
“Government waited for the pandemic before it woke up to the reality of the decadence in our health care sector. Even now, enough has not been done to properly equip the sector and properly kit health workers across the country,” he regretted.
“I also call on the Federal Government to pay the two months salaries owed health workers arising from an industrial dispute in 2018,” Wabba added.
“We also demand a quick conclusion on negotiations on salary adjustment for JOHESU members in line with alternative dispute resolution processes of National Industrial Court of Nigeria, which all parties involved in the negotiation are subjected to.
“We also call for an end to all forms of medical tourism, especially by our elected and appointed public officials.
“We reiterate our position that the government must be ready to invest heavily in the health sector as no country survives without effective health care.”