Say the move will lead to massive retrenchment

Health workers in Imo State are gearing for a showdown with the state government, following a planned privatisation of all general and specialist hospitals in the state.

The workers accused the Rochas Okorocha-led administration of “a careful plot to sack a good number of us through the planned privatisation of all general and specialist hospitals.”

It was gathered that leadership of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), as well as the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH), Orlu, are already spoiling for war with the government.

The unions are against the government’s plan, claiming that the planned privatisation of the hospitals will eventually result in massive retrenchment of the health workers in the state.

The workers are also irked that the government planned to bring in an Islamic firm to enable it secure loans from the recently established controversial Islamic Bank.

Apart from unions, some human right activists have also queried the planned privatisation of the hospitals, contending that “the suspicious package would most likely lead to the sacking of workers.”

Earlier in the month, Joint Health Sector Unions and Associations (JHSUA) had given the Imo State government seven days to reverse the proposed commercialisation, privatisation and concessioning of state hospitals and resolve all outstanding labour issues, or risk industrial crisis in the health sector.

In defiance to the threat, though, the state government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a British company to manage the hospitals. The state commissioner for Health, Dr. Obi Njoku, said that the step is to rehabilitate and re-equip the hospitals for more quality service delivery.

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