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Stop medical tourism, invest in healthcare system now, NLC urges govt

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THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on federal and state governments to stop medical tourism and improve funding to the nation’s health sector.

Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President said this on Thursday in Abuja at a ceremony to mark the 2020 Global Day of Action on Care.

“We 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,” said Wabba.

Wabba urged governments to equip medical workers across the nation as well as provide decent remuneration for them.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed the risks health care workers face daily in the course of their duties as they do not have adequate and appropriate safety gears, access to their own health care, decent pay commensurate with the work they do.

“Healthcare workers also need standard daycare centres to keep their children when schools are not open and, or infants that are not of school age, to enable them to concentrate on their work.

“It is also important that they are granted paid medical leave that includes their immediate families. This will also help to curb the spread of airborne diseases they are exposed to at their workplaces,” he added.

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He stated that the COVID-19 has shown that the health sector is a key sector in the country thereby it must be shown appropriate attention.

“We believe that now is the time for our government at all levels to demonstrate keen attention to the health sector. The current pandemic has shown how important healthcare is to all sectors and citizens of any country,” he stated.

The NLC president called for full membership of trade unions by all health workers, including those in private facilities, to give them the coverage to demand their rights and enable unions to monitor safety standards at the care centres.

He further called on the Federal government to pay two months’ salaries of health workers owed since 2018 following an industrial dispute in 2018.

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