By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY—EDO State Government-owned hospitals were paralysed, yesterday, following the five-day warning strike embarked upon by Nigeria Medical Association, NMA.
The NMA is demanding better working condition, recruitment of more doctors and improved infrastructure in the hospitals but regretted that the state government had failed to heed to their demands.
Vanguard observed that patients were being discharged at the state-owned Central Hospital to private hospitals, putting the lives of most of them in critical conditions at risk.
But in a swift reaction, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr David Osifo, expressed surprise with the strike, asserting that the doctors had been part of the committee set up by Governor Godwin Obaseki to work out solutions on how to move the health sector forward.
However, in an emergency meeting, yesterday, the state chairman of NMA, Dr Emmanuel Osaigbovo, said doctors in federal and local government institutions working in the state would be part of the warning strike.
According to him, “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.”
NMA is unfair to us—Govt
But the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Osifo said: “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 of has also looked into the salary review and we came up with an additional N30 millio for the wage bill for doctors only.
“The governor said we should look into graduating the increments because incurring additional N30 million monthly would make other sectors of the country to suffer. I will get to them to know why their action is not fair to us.”