The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Ondo State chapter has given the state government a seven-day ultimatum to implement the approved hazard allowance and address other critical challenges facing the state’s health sector.
This union in its communique issued at the end of its ordinary general meeting held on Friday, in Akure, explained that failure to pay its members the hazard allowance, low employment entry point and poor salary structure compared to other neighbouring states has been the attitude of the state government.
The communique which was signed by the State Chairman, Dr. Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe and the State Secretary, Dr. Adeayo Omotehinse, Ondo NMA, noted with concern the continuous shortage of manpower and modern medical equipment at various State hospitals.
Adeyemi-Osowe who read the communique, lamented that doctors in the state were still earning ridiculous N5,000 as hazard allowance, stressing that there were only 22 resident doctors at UNIMED Teaching Hospital compared to the previous figure of 150 resident doctors before.
He said the decaying condition of the state health sector, had forced many doctors out of the state service while new ones are not interested in working with the Ondo State government.
His words: The congress also resolved to give an ultimatum of 7 days to the Government of Ondo State to implement the approved hazard allowance. This being the lowest hanging fruits. That failure to implement this after the expiration of the 7 days, the relative industrial harmony in the state health sector shall no longer be guaranteed. The Congress shall reconvene after the expiration of the stated period to chart a way forward.
“The NMA enjoins the state government to resolve the issues of non-availability of equipment at some critical units in our teaching hospital UNIMEDTHC (The CT scan is non-functional for over 12months, no ventilators at the ICU) etc. Only a few weeks ago, eight doctors left the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit at UNIMEDTHC in Ondo State to same unit at OAUTHC, Ile Ife, Osun State.
“The Congress observed that the following units at UNIMEDTHC do not have resident doctors under training- Orthopaedics, Burns and Plastic, Ear, Nose and Throat, Mental Health, and Paediatric surgery. It was noted with great concerns the collapse of neurosurgery department of the Teaching hospital – no resident doctors and no consultants in that unit presently.
The union stated, “it observed that, the state General hospitals located at Iwaro-Oka, Ipe, Irele, and Ido-Ani where we used to have at least 5 doctors per General hospital, now have a doctor per General hospital and this doctor is expected to be on call every day of the week and that same doctor is also expected to see to the day to day running of the hospital. This is reminiscent of the slave trade era, where slaves work every minute each day.
“He pleaded with opinion leaders, religious leaders, traditional rulers, stakeholders and all Ondo state residents interested in a healthy Ondo state to prevail on the government to declare state of emergency in the state health sector with the aim of proffering effective measures and solutions to the sector’s numerous challenges.
“The Congress noted with deep sadness the huge disparities in the salaries of doctors working in Ondo state and that of Ekiti state, Osun state, Kwara state, Edo state to mention a few in one hand and that of the doctors working with Federal Civil Service in another hand.
“The Congress resolved that the huge disparities in the salaries of doctors in Ondo State Civil Service (an oil producing state) and that of the neighbouring states especially Ekiti state (created out of Ondo state and a non-oil producing state) should be looked into with a view to bridging the gap, without further delay. The State Government should as a matter of urgency set up a committee to enter into negotiation for the implementations of these noted disparity.”