FG ad­mits 90% of work­ers lack health ser­vice

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Judd Leonard Okafor

At least nine out of ev­ery 10 work­ers in Nigeria do not have any ac­cess to health ser­vices at their place of work, in­clud­ing those work­ing in hos­pi­tals, the health min­istry has said.

The rev­e­la­tion came as Nigeria marked the work safety and health day which fo­cused on safe use of chem­i­cals in ev­ery­day life.

Health min­is­ter Onye­buchi Chukwu said oc­cu­pa­tional health ser­vice was not avail­able in “most com­pa­nies, clin­ics, re­tainer hos­pi­tals and health fa­cil­i­ties.”

“Work­ers in Nigeria form above 49% of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion and only 5 to 10% of these work­ers, who are the great­est as­sets of the na­tion, have ac­cess to oc­cu­pa­tional health ser­vice in spite of ev­i­dent need at all work­places,” he said in com­ments de­liv­ered by health per­ma­nent sec­re­tary Li­nus Awute.

He said the coun­try needed ap­pro­pri­ate poli­cies, guide­lines, re­search and ideas to help “bring down tremen­dously” ill­nesses or health and med­i­cal chal­lenges re­lated to oc­cu­pa­tional health.

Na­tion­wide, only six states so far have oc­cu­pa­tional health cen­tres, ac­cord­ing to Dr Brid­get Okoeg­u­lae, di­rec­tor for pub­lic health at the federal health min­istry.

The trio min­istries of health, labour and en­vi­ron­ment are ex­pected to work closer to raise aware­ness about oc­cu­pa­tion­re­lated health and likely workplace dan­gers, es­pe­cially in­volv­ing use of chem­i­cals, said Okoeguale.

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