Friday, April 28, 2017 9:39 am
Health workers in the country have urged government at all levels to take seriously issues concerning the welfare of professionals in the sector, saying these were responsible for the crises in the sector.
Those, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), expressed the belief that the sector was losing workers due to welfare-related issues.
Samuel Adeyemi, a former chairman of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, told NAN that the work environment for health workers was challenging.
“The work environment may be precarious as they are exposed to worsening health and safety situations with increased cases of deaths and injuries,” he said.
Dr Victor Makanjuola, the Coordinator of Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Team, Ibadan, said half of the work force in Nigeria know little about occupational health.
According to Makanjuola, increased competition, higher expectations as regards performance and longer working hours, are all making the working environment more precarious.
“This has enormous negative consequences on workers’ mental health and wellbeing,” he said.
Prof. Modupe Onadeko, a retired Consultant of Reproductive Medicine and Family Physician at the UCH, said unemployment rate, collapse of industries and subsequent loss of jobs could lead to myriads of health challenges.
“These challenges can lead to series of health conditions such as obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems and other diseases of the heart.
“ Most Nigerian workers are actually losing sleep worrying about work and inadequate facilities due to the economic meltdown in the country,” she said.
Onadeko also disclosed that stress –related illnesses in Nigeria were higher than in other countries, adding that this needed urgent government intervention.
“We have had cases of government workers in some states in the South West Zone who lost their lives due to non-payment of salaries by government.
“Many pensioners have died due to non-payment of their pensions and therefore died of hunger and lack of effective medical care.
“In Nigeria, employers don’t take the issue of occupational health and safety serious.
“ This is not because they don’t know that it is important, but largely because most of them think keeping up to date on health and safety of workers will make them spend more money.
“But research and experience have shown that when your workers are healthy and the workplace is secured, you will make more profit because it will attract more people to your investment,” she said.
NAN reports that the International Labour Organisation, an affiliate of the United Nations, had declared April 28 as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
The theme for 2017 was “Optimise the Collection and Use of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). ”