From Gyang Bere, Jos
The National President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof Innocent Ujah, has said the association is ready to engage with the Federal Government on the payment of frontline health workers’ hazard allowance.
He noted that the Federal Government, following pressure and a strike action, had paid the hazard and inconvenience allowances to frontline health workers but stopped after three months.
Prof Ujah spoke on Tuesday during a press briefing in Jos, where he disclosed that NMA has lost many members, with a many infected with COVID-19.
‘We are going to reactivate machineries and resume dialogue with government on the health hazard, inconvenience and risk of work allowance,’ he said.
‘We are not asking government anything extraordinary other than providing the enabling environment to work. We know that we are working in very harsh environmental circumstances.
‘When we talk about the COVID-19, we want to be protected. In giving life first, you need to be protected and this comes through training of health practitioners in special prevention and control, and the NMA doesn’t have the funds, and government has to do that.
‘We also need motivation for the Nigerian doctors to show commitment and loyalty towards their work. We are saying that inconvenience and hazard allowance should be paid commiserate with the risk that we are facing.
‘We don’t have life health insurance for doctors and other health workers. The inconvenience and hazard allowance must be improved upon; it is inadequate to say you are paying hazard allowance to doctors.
‘Doctors and other health workers should be motivated to work and this is a very dangerous period. We will resume dialogue with government on the hazard allowance and when we say government we do not mean Federal Government alone, we have state government,’ Prof Ujah stated.
He called on the federal and state governments to establish oxygen plants to save patients infected with COVID-19.
He lamented that conducting research for a breakthrough in a COVID-19 vaccine is costly, saying that Nigeria does not have the political will to push for a local search for a COVID-19 vaccine.