In Cross River Health Commissioner appeals to nurses to suspend strike

The nurses are on strike following what they described as "abuse of civil service rule" after a Grade Level 13 officer was appointed to superintend over a primary healthcare centre.

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Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade play

Governor Ben Ayade

(Guardian)

Dr Inyang Asibong, the Cross River Commissioner for Health, has urged the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) to suspend its three weeks old strike in the interest of the people.

Asibong made the call on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while reacting to the prolonged strike by the association.

NAN reports that the nurses embarked on the strike following what they described as `abuse of civil service rule’ after a Grade Level 13 officer was appointed to superintend over a primary healthcare centre in Obudu local government.

The association argued that it was wrong to appoint a level 13 officer to head a primary health centre when levels 15 and 16 officers were in the same primary healthcare centre.

“I have held meetings with the state Chairman of NANNM, Dr Ojong Ofut, the Chairman of the Cross River Local Government Service Commission, Dr Peter Adigeb and the State NLC Chairman, Mr John Ushie in order to resolve the crisis.

“At the end of the meeting, we agreed that they would go back and call on their members to end the industrial action.

“Right now, the secondary health sector is at a stand-still because most of our nurses are on strike. There is no way we can run our health facilities without nurses.

“Dialogue is the best option in resolving disputes. To me, I don’t believe that strike is the best way to say we are aggrieved. We have met with them and we are very hopeful that the strike will be suspended.

“They are striking because a junior nurse on level 13 was appointed over senior nurses on level 15 and 16,’’ she said.

On the availability of doctors in the state primary healthcare centres, the Commissioner told NAN that 18 medical doctors were posted to the 18 local government areas in the state.

She explained that the doctors were to serve as medical officers in their respective local governments areas of posting.

“If there is any medical problem that cannot be handled by the health staff of the local government, it would be referred to the doctors because they are actually based in the local government headquarters.

“It is a very good start; there is room for more. I must commend Gov. Ben Ayade who came on board and recruited the doctors.

“Last week, 10 nurses were employed and the governor has promised to employ more community health workers because the embargo on employment in the state health sector has been lifted by the governor himself,” she said.