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The Bauchi State Union of Volunteers and Temporary Health Workers has given the state government two weeks ultimatum to address their demands or face an indefinite strike.

The 2,897 health workers are agitating for either permanent or temporary employment by the Bauchi State Government, warning that if the government did not respond, they will withdraw their voluntary services in the 20 local government areas of the state.

The state chairman of the union, Yusuf Fada, who gave the ultimatum at a press conference on Tuesday at the Cikin Fada Primary Health Care Center in Bauchi, said members of the union had been heading 100 health care facilities for over a decade without monthly allowances or employment.

According to him, despite the fact that they, as volunteers, raise funds among themselves to purchase medical consumables and drugs in order to render free medical services to hard-to-reach areas of the state, the government has not offered any of them employment in the health sector.

He explained that they spoke to the governor before the election that brought him into office.

He said, “His reply was that he would casualise the services of volunteer health workers within 100 days in office. After 365 days in office without fulfilling his promises, we sent many letters of reminder to the Governor’s Office and the Chief of Staff, but there was no response.

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“We decided to conduct a peaceful protest on March 2, 2020, but on March 1, 2020, we received a call from Chief Security Officer to the governor inviting us a dialogue with the government.”

According to him, the CSO gave them an assurance that their plights would be taken to the governor, “promising that His Excellency will remove the embargo on employment and recruit health workers and give 70 per cent slot to our members. We suspended the protest.”

Fada said that with all the promises made by the government many times without any fulfilment, “we are becoming hopeless especially considering that for over 10 years now, there has been no official employment in the health sector, no replacement for over 10 years despite exodus of health workers through retirement and death. The government has built over150 new health care in 10 years without employment.”

He added, “We are giving two weeks’ notice to the Bauchi State Government to pay attention to our plights or we will withdraw our services across all health facilities in the state by embarking on indefinite strike. We are going to withdraw the services of 2,897 members in public health care facilities across 20 LGAs of the state.”

 The Commissioner of Health, Samaila Dahuwa, however, said the state government was looking into their plights and might employ them.

He said, “They are volunteers, not that someone asked them to. However, they are making great contributions in the health sector in Bauchi State.

“We plead with them not to withdraw their services.  They should also know that the government is working on their issues and they will soon be addressed.”

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