y Chioma Uzochukwu & Chioma Okpala
ONITSHA—As Nigeria celebrates her 50th independence anniversary today, medical doctors under the aegis of National Association of General and Dental Practitioners, NAGGMPD, Anambra State chapter, have said it was a wonderful thing for Nigeria to have remained united for 50years, in spite of all the crisis that had plagued the country, saying the golden jubilee was worth celebrating.
The doctors have, however, threatened to go on strike if Anambra State government failed to implement all the salary increments, which had been denied them for the past two years.
The doctors, who spoke through their Secretary, Dr. Joe Uyammadu, said the freedom the country was celebrating today would not have been possible if the type of leaders the country has today were the same that fought for the freedom being celeberated.
“Our founding fathers were selfless, unlike this greedy, selfish and unpatriotic lots we have now, parading themselves as leaders.
“This nation has been taken over by unpatriotic politicians. What we need now are committed, selfless and patriotic people to guide this nation that is abundantly blessed with a lot of mineral resources in the next 50years,” said Uyammadu.
He said doctors in Anambra State were working just to ensure that there was industrial harmony and to allow the governor look into their problems and not because any of their demands had been met.
He said the government seemed to be taking doctors in the state for granted, as the 22% salary increase they had been demanding for in the last two years had not been paid them.
“We have submitted the Consolidated Medical Salary Skill (CONMESS) documents to the state government and other relevant ministries and agencies, yet we have not been paid.
“Even the new National Salary increase which is based on percentage of what should be our current salary is being frustrated.
“We missed 22%, 12%, 4% salary increase to doctors and even the short life of CONTISS, we equally missed and it is going to be a problem to calculate the new salary increase for us.
“This is because the government is always finding it difficult to pay when others are paying, in spite of the fact that we are the least paid in the whole federation,” said Uyammadu.
The doctors said the attitude of the government towards them in the state was having very severe effect on healthcare delivery system in the state that was suppose to be leading in healthcare delivery.
“We are supposed to be training house officers at the General Hospital, Onitsha, but because of the poor pay, we don’t have anybody except a very lonely and unfortunate doctor who is the only one out of 30n we are suppose to have.
“The government is aware of this fact, they are in dilemma and this will continue until the government addresses the salary difference,” said Uyammadu.
He said the government had created a very serious problem in the health sector in the state with its lackadaisical attitude towards doctor’s salary and allowances in the state.
Uyammadu said “they are aware of the crisis they have created in the state, they know that if they pay house officers what they should be paid, their salaries will be more than that of the principal medical officers in the employ of the government, and that means causing industrial disharmony”.
He regretted that instead of states that could not pay the new national salary increase for doctors to look for a way to source money to pay, they were busy instigating the state that could pay not to pay the doctors, with the claim that they don’t want to be a “black leg” in the whole affair.