Judex Okoro, Calabar
State hospitals across Cross River are being depleted of much needed medical doctors, as an increasing number of health professionals are quitting due to bad working conditions, Daily Sun has found.
Daily Sun gathered that the doctors’ exit from the state hospitals is particularly due to their poor remuneration and the non implementation of the 100 percent Consolidated Medical Salary Structure by the Cross River State Government.
Poor infrastructure and a deplorable work environment have also contributed to the resignation of the medical doctors, Daily Sun has learnt.
An inside source tells Daily Sun that a significant number of Cross River’s18 state hospitals are being manned not by medical doctors but auxiliary health workers like matrons and nurses.
Dr Jonathan Archibong, a doctor at a state hospital along Mary Slessor Road, Calabar, told Daily Sun that there are about 10 medical doctors employed at the hospital, with only two on-duty at any point in time.
Archibong said the two on-duty doctors are responsible for attending to several hundred patients, as most of his colleagues have quit the institution for teaching hospitals in and out of state.
“I can tell you that doctors and other health workers have been leaving general hospitals in droves. I am not even sure that by the the you come here in the next few days you would still meet me here because I am one leg in, one leg out,” he said.
“I feel sad that I work in a state government general hospital in Calabar with very poor conditions of service. No salary paid, no materials to work, no prescription sheets, no folders, no test sheets, no light and water.”
Lamenting the plight of the medical professionals, Archibong said most of his colleagues have left for other states, complaining about poor compensation relative to their work load.
Confirming the shortage of medical doctors in the state’s health institutions, state chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Agam Ayuk, said the resignations are due to poor remuneration and the failure of the Cross River State Government to implement the100 percent the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.
Ayuk said the Association had advised the state government to recruit more doctors into the health system and implement the new salary structure in order to retain them.
“It is difficult for the state to sustain more doctors because of the issue of remuneration. Some doctors under the state employ leave for greener pastures when any opportunity comes because the working condition is not favourable,” he stated.
Asked to respond to the worrying state of affairs, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Health, Dr Joseph Bassey, said he could not speak on the issue, referring instead to the state’s Chief Medical Director, who was unavailable for comment.