The Ondo State Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) has returned Primary Health Care staff to the state government 28 years after taking over their management.
In an arrangement that can be called a landmark victory for Primary Health Care (PHC) in the state, the staff of PHC were completely devolved from Ondo State LGSC to Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (OSPHCDA).
The event took place on February 13, 2020, at the Ondo State LGSC complex.
In his remarks at the ceremony, the Permanent Secretary, LGSC, Barrister Kehinde Ige noted that it was not the first time that the LGSC would be involved in the devolution of staff.
In 1992, Barrister Ige said that Primary Health Care staff were devolved from the Ondo State Hospitals’ Management Board and Ministry of Health to LGSC.
He then said that what happened at the event only marked the reversal of what happened 28 years earlier – the return of what the local government was given to the state, albeit in a better state.
He directed the Directors of Local Government Administration in the 18 local government areas (LGAs) of the state to replicate the devolution by handing over the files of junior staff on grade level 01-06 to the Medical Officers of Health/ Secretaries of their respective Local Government Primary Health Care Authorities.
In his own speech, the Chairman, Ondo State LGSC, Hon. Femi Idris, said that the event was “epoch-making” and marked a watershed in the history of OSPHCDA and LGSC.
He said that LGSC had concluded arrangements to second capable staff to OSPHCDA to help in the initial stage of the devolution in managing key personnel issues that OSPHCDA may not yet be conversant with until OSPHCDA gathered sufficient experience to stand alone on personnel management.
In his remarks at the event, the President of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ondo State, Comrade Bola Taiwo appealed to the Executive Secretary, OSPHCDA, Dr. Francis Adegoke Akanbiemu, to take very good care of the staff being devolved to the Agency.
He said that primary health care staff were well-catered for in the local government and expected the same treatment to be meted out to them, noting that local government staff were very precious to the Union and thus the Union would do whatever was necessary to protect their welfare.
He also charged the Executive Secretary of OSPHCDA to ensure that the relationship between LGSC and OSPHCDA remained cordial as it would be mutually beneficial for both parties.
He further said that the local government spent about NGN600 million on a monthly basis to pay salaries of primary health care workers of different cadres, aside from monthly subvention to OSPHCDA. He, therefore, concluded that it would be an aberration and wishful thinking for the management and staff of OSPHCDA to think that they had no allegiance to the local government with such huge investment.
Under the devolution terms, the local government will continue to pay the salaries of primary health care workers while OSPHCDA will take care of the administration of all other aspects of personnel management for staff on grade level 07 and above while the local government primary health care authority in each of the 18 local government areas staff on grade level 01-06.
Such personnel issues include but not limited to the promotion, discipline, posting, appointment, conversion, etc of the staff devolved to the Agency and each Local Government Primary Health Care Authority across the 18 local government areas of the state.
In his own remarks, the Executive Secretary of OSPHCDA thanked LGSC and other stakeholders for the landmark event and promised to take PHC to higher heights under his watch.
He said the devolution was necessary so that the state could benefit from the basket of funding for Primary Health Care, under the concept of bringing PHC Under One Roof. He also promised to see to the welfare of the staff of local government devolved to OSPHCDA.
Other activities at the event were the signing of the official sign-off letter and the handing over of files and other documents relating to the devolution by the Permanent Secretary, LGSC to the Executive Secretary of OSPHCDA.