By Mustapha Sumaila
Abuja – Scores of Midwives from across the country under the Federal Government’s Midwifery Service Scheme (MSS), on Tuesday embarked on a protest over nonpayment of allowances by the government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the midwives gathered at the office of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in Asokoro, Abuja carrying placards with inscription:”Government please pay us our allowances”.
The group’s spokesperson, Ms Olivier Ihumoma, who led other protesters to NPHCDA’s office in Abuja, said that they were being owed eight-month arrears of allowance.
Ihumoma explained that since they started the programme in October 2016, some of them received only two months allowance while most of the midwives were yet to be paid.
She said that they were all deployed to rural areas to work but had been confronted with a lot of challenges due to the nonpayment of the allowance.
According to her, they can no longer feed or transport themselves to the Primary Health Care (PHC’s) facilities where they rendered services.
“What we are going through in rendering this important service is unfortunate because we don’t deserve it.
‘We can’t feed ourselves anymore, we eat whatever we see in the community and is already having impact on our wellbeing.
“Many of us fell sick because of the condition we found ourselves; If you are not well fed, where is the strength to perform the duty you are posted to villages to do,” she said.
Ihumoma said that the government also failed to provide midwifery kits for them to work with as promised at the time they were posted to the rural areas.
She said that they have been facing a lot of challenges in the PHCs they were posted to due to lack of equipment.
Dr Oladimeji Olayinka, a Director in NPHCDA who received the protesters, said that the agency had prepared payment schedule and sent it to the Accounts Department in respect of the midwives’ allowance.
Olayinka stated that the delay in the signing of 2017 budget was responsible for the nonpayment of their entitlements.
“The few of your colleagues that we paid their two or three months of their allowance were paid from our budget of 2016,” he said.
The director assured the protesters on the payment of the allowances before the end of this week.
He noted that the agency’s accountant had promised him, adding that he trusted him and had taken him by his words.
On the midwifery kits, Olayinka disclosed that the ones that were provided were meant for the facilities, however, those midwives who served in such PHCs had gone with them after their services.
He said that due to paucity of funds, they have not been able to replace them and will do that as soon as the money was available.
NAN reports that the protesters were from different PHCs and from various states of the federation. (NAN)