Health professionals and workers in Enugu State under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), yesterday went wild with jubilation as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi announced an upward increase of their Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) from 41 percent to 60 percent, 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 Gov. Ugwuanyi for his benevolence and unflinching commitment to the welfare of health workers in the state.
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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”.
Comrade 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”, adding: “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 (Ugwuanyi) approved 10 percent CONHESS in 2018 and in 2021, you approved 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also gave us COVID-19 allowance that lasted for upward of one year when other states, including Federal Government, had withdrawn the payment.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.
“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.
“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.
“We appreciate your responsiveness to the yearnings of the people especially workers. Your disposition to govern Enugu State with the fear of God and Rule of Law has turned the state to be the most relatively peaceful state in the country and South East in particular.
In their remarks, the State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Virginus Nwobodo and Comrade Benneth Asogwa respectively, endorsed the address by the leadership of JOHESU, stressing that the workers of Enugu State deeply appreciate all that Gov. Ugwuanyi is doing for the people of the state “in this time of scarcity and economic meltdown”.
They added that it was only during the administration of Gov. Ugwuanyi that the workers of Enugu State visit the Government House without carrying placards in protest, saying that “we are in Government House today to register our appreciation”.