By Chioma Onuegbu
Uyo—Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed its commitment to the welfare of medical doctors in its service and urged them to drop their proposed strike action and use dialogue to draw government attention to their needs.
State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, who made the appeal on behalf of the state government, yesterday, during an interaction with the leadership of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Akwa Ibom State chapter in his office, said that government had already met their needs by approving and paying their December salaries and outstanding allowances of house officers.
The leadership of the NMA in the state had last week threatened to withdraw their services if the state government failed to pay the 14 months salary owed the newly recruited doctors, saying that it was not proper for the state government to employ and post 61 medical doctors to various hospitals across the state without paying them.
Ukpong added that unpaid salaries of the newly recruited doctors would be paid this month and directed them to collect forms from the Health Management Board and submit their account details, disclosed that government has also approved the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, and Consolidated Health Salary structure, CONMESS and CONHESS respectively.
The commissioner noted that what the association did not know was that the process of releasing the funds was even ongoing before they came up with the idea of embarking on strike action.
“I advise that you should drop the idea of embarking on strike action because strike action will not help, but makes progress difficult. Dialogue pays. Doctors should imbibe the principle of dialogue and not war. So, I appeal to you to also consider the plight of the patients.”
Reacting, state Chairman of NMA, Dr. Augustine Umoh appreciated state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for the timely intervention and assured that they were ready for smooth working relationship with present administration to ensure implementation of all health policies and programmes.