Tony Osauzo, Benin-City
The Edo State chapter of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), on Wednesday, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the state government to address what it termed ‘deplorable state of health sector’ in the state or face indefinite strike action.
Addressing journalists in Benin-City, Chairman of the Association, Dr. Osaigbovo Emmanuel, expressed dissatisfaction with the manner the state government handled negotiation with the body over the past one year.
Osaigbovo, who listed the demands of the NMA to include immediate revamping of the health sector, addressing the total decay of infrastructure, fixed and movable and employment of more doctors, said the indefinite strike action would commence on April 1 and that doctors in private practice might be asked to join in the strike action.
He said that some hospitals in the state are without doctors, adding that the 180 doctors employed by the State Government are spread across the 34 general hospitals in the state.
“The morale of doctors are very low and made worse by the fact that there are inadequate facilities as well as poor working environment.
“Doctors employed into the state hospitals are the least paid in the country due to non-implementation of the appropriate salary scale approved for doctors nationwide. This has led to continuous drain of doctors from the state hospitals.
“They have become endangered species because they are far behind their counter-parts in other states”, Dr. Osaigbovo alleged.
He, therefore, appealed to religious leaders, traditional rulers and politicians to urge Governor Obaseki to address agitations faced by doctors in the state.
But reacting to the Doctors’ threat, the State Government said it is adopting a holistic approach to the reform of the health sector in the state.
“We urge the health professionals to exercise some patience as hasty and tokenistic efforts cannot produce the high standard of healthcare which the Obaseki Government has envisioned for Edo people.
“The plans have been made and partners are being sourced, and in good time the results will manifest”, the Government said in a statement issued by Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy.