Doctors in Edo state have embarked on a five days warning strike to press home their demand for better working conditions, insufficient personnel and other demands.
Addressing journalists after an emergency meeting, state chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Emmanuel Osaigbovo, said doctors in federal and local government institutions working in the state would be part of the warning strike, which is an indication that health services would be paralysed in the state from yesterday, Wednesday.
Osaogbovo said: “For more than a year, we have been talking to Edo state government, the Edo doctors have been highly marginalised, their welfare have been relegated to the background, we have given ultimatums and then later shelved them due to intervention by well meaning Edo people. We are forced today to take a decision we did not want to take, we are telling Edo people that we are taking this decision , a hard one because the state government has refused to listen to anybody. We are truly sorry for the pains Edo people will pass through”
He said state owned institutions are in decay and that the state has only 200 doctors in its pay roll “whereas a federal institution like University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has 800 and out of this 200 are consultants. Edo state does not have a general surgeon, no pathologist and in the central hospital, there is only one theatre table in the emergency ward, the emergency centre is like a zoo for animals. The state government recently donated X-ray machines to a federal health institution yet it does not have one, we want government to look into all these and others”
But reacting to it, the state commissioner for health, Dr. David Osifo, expressed shock in the planned warning strike. “I am surprised about this, they have been part of the committees to get solutions for the health sector.
The governor even set up a committee to look into their demands and we have been working together. The committee on their salaries which they are part have also looked into the salary review and we came up with an additional N30 million for the wage bill for doctors only.
By: Ihemere Ngozi, Port Hacourt
The Guardian News