Healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and Community Health Extension Workers under the Expanded Midwives Service Scheme (eMSS), are confronting the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Sydani Group over four months of unpaid salary arrears. The eMSS, implemented by the Federal Government through the NPHCDA to improve maternal and child health, involves technical support from the Sydani Group.
Dr Nafisa Muhammad, working at the Primary Health Care Centre in Dije Bala and Madalla, Niger State, expressed her frustration. She resigned from her former job for this role, only to face financial hardship due to the non-payment of salaries. The healthcare workers were initially instructed to delay their duty commencement and later began work on August 1st without receiving any payment since.
Walter Elsie, a nurse under the eMSS programme in Rivers State, highlighted the hardship caused by the non-payment of salaries. Despite being employed through Sydani and undergoing online screening, interviews, and orientation, the staff have not received their salaries since July. Efforts to address this issue have resulted in only a handful of over 100 staff in Rivers State being paid.
Another nurse, speaking anonymously, shared the suffering of staff under the scheme, highlighting the low monthly pay of N45,000 and the lack of response to their numerous written appeals. Adagu Agu, a Community Health Extension Worker in Nasarawa state, also lamented the delay in salary payment despite fulfilling their contractual obligations.
Leyira Ken, an analyst at Sydani Group, acknowledged receiving several letters from eMSS employees regarding payment. He clarified that Sydani is not the employer but provides technical support, advising the aggrieved employees to direct their grievances to NPHCDA. Efforts to reach Itoro Ata, the Secretary to the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Muyi Aina, were unsuccessful.
The plight of healthcare workers under the Expanded Midwives Service Scheme, facing months of unpaid salaries, is a critical issue that demands immediate attention. This situation not only affects the livelihoods of these dedicated professionals but also reflects broader systemic issues within Nigeria’s healthcare sector.
The delay in salary payments is unacceptable, particularly for those who have left secure positions based on the promise of employment under the eMSS. Such situations erode trust in government initiatives and discourage skilled professionals from participating in essential public health programs. The impact of this non-payment extends beyond the individual healthcare workers; it affects the quality of healthcare services provided to the community, particularly in maternal and child health, which is the focus of the eMSS.
The government and the involved agencies, NPHCDA and Sydani Group must address this issue promptly. Ensuring timely payment of salaries is fundamental to maintaining the morale and motivation of healthcare workers. It is also crucial for the sustainability of public health initiatives like the eMSS. The government must establish more robust mechanisms to prevent such delays in the future and ensure that healthcare workers are compensated fairly and on time for their invaluable services.
This situation highlights the need for better communication and transparency in government-run health programs. Clear and timely information regarding employment terms, salary disbursements, and grievance redressal mechanisms is essential. This will help build trust among healthcare professionals and encourage their continued participation in such vital schemes.
Did You Know?
- eMSS’s Role: The Expanded Midwives Service Scheme plays a crucial role in improving maternal and child health in Nigeria.
- Healthcare Workers’ Challenges: Healthcare professionals in Nigeria often face challenges, including delayed salaries and inadequate working conditions.
- Importance of Timely Payments: Timely salary payments are essential for maintaining the morale and efficiency of healthcare workers.
- Impact on Public Health: Delays in salary payments can adversely affect the quality of healthcare services provided to the community.
- Government Health Initiatives: The effectiveness of government health initiatives heavily relies on the satisfaction and support of the healthcare workforce.