Jubilation as Ugwuanyi approves salary increase for health workers

Health professionals and workers in Enugu State under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), went wild with jubilation yesterday as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi announced an upward increase of their Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) from 41 per cent to 60 per cent, effective from September 2021, in spite of the nation’s economic, security and public health challenges.

Gov. Ugwuanyi made the announcement when he addressed a delegation from JOHESU comprising members of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Medical and Health Workers Sector Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), at the Government House, Enugu.

Members of JOHESU were at the Government House, Enugu, on a thank-you visit to Ugwuanyi for his benevolence and unflinching commitment to the welfare of health workers in the state.

Presenting their address, the State Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Ezekiel Omeh, told Gov. Ugwuanyi that: “We are very grateful to the Almighty God who has chosen you, Your Excellency, to actualize the implementation of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for the health professionals and workers in Enugu State”.

Omeh disclosed that “CONHESS is a dream that has eluded us for the past 11 years but made real by you (Ugwuanyi) in the month of May 2021. “We thank you and salute your political wisdom to be used as a vessel to actualize God’s will. We appreciate your kind heart and show of love”.

Speaking further the JOHESU chairman said: “Your excellency, we are happy that today, you have placed us at par with our peers and contemporaries in the health industry who have been enjoying the CONHESS which is the appropriate Salary Scale operational in the Country since 2010.

“We are aware that in the previous times before your coming in as governor, the economy was good enough to implement CONHESS for us but our agitations for it then resulted in giving us more pains than relief.

“To assuage the situation, your excellency approved 10 percent CONHESS in 2018 and in 2021, you approved an additional 31 percent making a total of 41 percent CONHESS.

“You also gave us COVID-19 allowance that lasted for upward of one year when other states, including federal government, had withdrawn the payment.

“We also appreciate your aggressive investment in the health sector in Enugu State. To mention a few, we are impressed and grateful for the transformation of Poly Clinic Asata to General Hospital, Uwani Health Centre to a General Hospital, renovation and reconstruction of Udi General Hospital, Awgu General Hospital and School of Midwifery, Awgu, reconstruction and renovation of Nsukka General Hospital, Enugu-Ezike General Hospital, the phenomenal progress in construction of permanent site of ESUT Teaching Hospital at Igbo-Eno and building of new General Hospitals in different Local Governments in the state that are ready for commissioning.”

According to him, these and other people-oriented projects are simultaneously going on in the state, all for the betterment of the health and welfare of the citizens despite the escalating harsh economic conditions and social unrest in the country.

Omeh added: “You have demonstrated how democratic government can be run with full participation of the citizenry, including workers. Hence our ability to get CONHESS approved and implemented Minimum Wage and its adjustment, COVID-19 allowance, 13th Month Salary all through dialogue and your show of understanding, transparency and prioritization of the welfare of workers and citizens.