Origins and development of WAHSUN
The idea of establishing the network was first suggested in 2004 in Accra, Ghana, during that year’s annual review and planning workshop of the English-speaking (East and West) Africa sub-region of the Public Services International (PSI). Participants from the health sector unions of different countries recognised that they faced similar attacks against jobs and trade union rights under the guise of ‘public sector reforms’1. Two years later, PSI organised a meeting for leaders of these unions where a memorandum of agreement was signed to form a sub-regional network to defend public healthcare delivery and health workers.
On 9 November 2007, WAHSUN was established at Abuja, Nigeria. The unions which founded WAHSUN were the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, the Health Services Workers’ Union of the Ghana TUC, the National Union of Private Health Sector Workers of Liberia, and the Sierra Leonean Health Services Workers’ Union (SLEHSWU). Officials of the Ugandan government and the health employees union were present as observers.