By Jonathan Ugbal
Staff of the Primary HealthCare departments across the 18 local government areas of Cross River State have called on the governor, Senator Ben Ayade to immediately direct their transfer to the newly created Primary Healthcare Development Agency (PHCDA).
This is even as only few PHC workers know such an agency exists at the state level. The agency which was created earlier this year by governor Ayade has as its head, Dr. Betta Edu who was serving as the Special Adviser on Primary and Community Health.
In separate interviews with CrossRiverWatch across several local government areas in northern and central Cross River State, the PHC staff who are split into two unions; National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) which comprises of Nurses and Midwives and the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) which comprises laboratory staff and others say they prefer to be under an agency that will give them an edge instead of been under the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC).
“I was delighted when I read on CrossRiverWatch that the PHCDA will be created, and since it has happened, there is no excuse why Primary HealthCare workers should continuously suffer under the LGSC where the council chairmen and some of our colleagues have connived to continuously make us suffer for too long. Ayade needs to give that directive immediately” says Regina Udoh (not actual name) a senior nurse in Bekwarra local government area.
For Elizabeth who works at a health post in Yala local government area, the creation of the agency is a welcomed idea even as she says she just knows about it from this reporter. “I am only knowing about this because you said it, I never knew it existed but now that I know I am delighted and cannot wait for us to be transferred to the department. It won’t hurt to leave the local government and be under the state” she said.
At the Health Center in Ovonum, Obubra, a staff who did not want to be named says there is need for the speedy transfer of manpower to the PHCDA as it will boost effectiveness and productivity.
“See people are not been serious in this business because they have people in high places, I think being under the PHCDA will be better as the DG will be able to discipline workers using the measures required in medical practice” the staff said.
Also, another PHC worker in Ogoja who did not want to be named had this to say; “I just imagine the pressure that will be exerted on the governor to halt this transfer because of the politics that is been played in transfers, postings and several other things which has caused rot in the system” the staff said.
However, the two primary healthcare staff approached by this reporter were sceptical about the creation of the agency and will not want to be under the agency as others wish.
“It is dicey, we may get it even worse while under the agency” says one, “I hope it is not something that will be to and fro where a scandal will emerge and we will embark on strike and it becomes stagnated” added the other.
Further findings by CrossRiverWatch revealed that the staff are fed up by the politics often played by the council chairmen who often boss over the Primary Healthcare coordinators in their local government areas and often “tamper” with the monies sent in for immunization and several other things.
As at press time, CrossRiverWatch was yet to get comments from NANNM and MHWUN state executives as their office at Effioanwan Street off Ekpo Abasi was under lock and key when our reporter visited.
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