LIFE INSURANCE POLICY IS NEEDED FOR ALL HEALTH WORKERS says Comerade Fakinlede Comerade Fakinlede Emmanuel is the Chairman of Medical and Health

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Comerade Fakinlede Emmanuel is the Chairman of Medical and Health Workers Union Ondo State council. He has been in service since 1987 and he became the Chairman of Ondo State Council on October 15th 2019. He is a leader that have the interest of his union members at heart. In his interview with journalists, he talked about his years in service, his achievement so far as the Chairman, what he still intend to achieve and the role the government has been playing in the union.

Since when have you been in the saddle of affairs of the Union?

I have been in the saddle for as far back as 1987. And I became the Chairman of Medical Health Workers Union in October 15th 2019.

What have you been able to put in place to move this organization forward?

Immediately I became the Chairman in 2019, there was a struggle of minimum wage which has been a very tough struggle in the Civil Service. Medical and Health Union is affiliated with Trade Union and NLC in Nigeria as a whole. Jointly, we came together for the struggle. At the end of the day, by January this year 2020, we won that race. But at the end of that January when the government approved that wage, we the health sectors decided to step down because we the health workers enjoy peculiar allowances that other Civil Servants are not enjoying. This made other civil servants to envy the health workers; they always antagonize us whenever we make any request. Under the health workers, we have the Medical Doctors, Laboratory workers, Pharmacist and other sectors working for the state government which were not actually captured in the first instance. So, the government agreed with us that it is better for us to step down so that we can be able to negotiate very well. In February, immediately we finished that one, we talked to the government to reopen the negotiation for the health workers in general. The discussion was moving very well until Covid-19 pandemic came in. So, we were unable to move because of social distance and all that. Therefore, we decided to stop the discussion. But in July, we later found out that it’s as if Covid-19 was already part of us. So, our people started agitating that there was need for us to talk to the government so that we can reopen the negotiation. We thank God, we reopened the negotiation and the government has approved that 30,000 naira minimum wage for health workers nationwide which we believe will reflect in our July salary.

Apart from the minimum wage issue you just talked about, what other efforts are you making in guaranteeing the safety of health workers?

In the first instance in my union when the problem came in, we sensitized our people. We went on radio, did jingles, we also sent out flyers for people to see so as to be aware of the problem on ground and the risk involved; that’s at our union level. At the same time, we started talking to the government to get our health workers P.P.E that will be used for protection. You will find out that many of our workers are infected with this vrius. We went to give them incentives at the I.D.H and even went to assist them so as to encourage those that work there. Along the line, the government approved Covid-19 allowances. I believe the government decided to pay those allowances because they have seen and appreciate the efforts of the health workers.

With all you have done so far, what other thing do you think is needed to be put in place for the health workers?

It can be seen that this pandemic has killed many health workers in the process of discharging their duty including an honourable comissioner. We have been telling the government to put an insurance policy in place to at least take care of the families that the deceased left behind. That’s why we are pleading to the government to put up life insurance policy for all health workers across the state for them to have the confidence that even if they die, their families are in safe hands.

What do you have in stock for this union in years to come?

If you move around you will see our guest house that is under construction. That has been part of our little deduction that we are receiving from the government. We are trying to put up that edifice and I believe that before the end of this tenure, we would have completed the guest house for use.

Is Ondo State health policy favourable to your Association?

The government is really trying. We are doing fine; at least we are getting our promotion as and when due. Despite this Covid-19 issues, the government promised to do our promotion in absential. The government is doing well and they are trying their best to do more.

Your message for the members of this great union.

We need to encourage ourselves and focus on our work so that at the end of the day, we would be able to have something to fall back on. We should not be lazy on our job because we are called to save the lives of people. And I pray that God will help us.

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