The National Association of Government General and Medical Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP), Ekiti chapter, has raised the alarm over the rate at which doctors are leaving government employment over poor welfare and lack of conducive work environment.
The association, at a news conference on Sunday in Ado-Ekiti, called on well-meaning individuals in the state to intervene in the crisis before things got out of hands.
The NAGGMDP state Chairman, Dr Kolawole Adeniyi, attributed the ongoing strike by doctors in Ekiti to the issue of poor welfare and lack of conducive work environment.
He said that there had not been any positive response from government on the issues at stake for the past three weeks.
Adeniyi described the present condition of both primary and secondary health facilities in the state as deplorable and worrisome, warning that the entire sector might soon collapse if nothing urgent was done.
According to him, government’s alleged abandonment has paralysed activities in the 19 general hospitals, three state specialist hospitals and all the primary healthcare centres across the state.
The NAGGMDP chairman further stated that all efforts by the striking doctors to get the attention of government to their grievances and that of the deplorable state of the hospitals in the state had been unsuccessful.
He said that rather than government doing the needful, what it did was the recent introduction of the state Health Insurance Scheme, which, he argued, might not yield the desired results.
Adeniyi warned that no health insurance scheme could succeed where purveyors of the scheme were not well motivated and adequate facilities not provided.
He said that health services in all the 16 local government areas of the state was no longer attractive to young medical doctors owing to the attitude of government to quality health and its personnel.
While lamenting the mass exodus of his members, Adeniyi stated that many of them were daily abandoning the government work to seek greener pastures in neighbouring states due to poor conditions of service in Ekiti.
“This is why we are calling on the good sons of daughters of our dear state to please join us in asking government to heed our demands so as to safeguard the health sector from the brink of collapse.
“Ekiti State government has remained unperturbed about the germane and critical issues being raised.
“Government has also refused to commit itself to the protection of healthcare professionals at a time when nations and civilisations are offering every support for this cadre of workers, more importantly in the face of the present COVID-19 pandemic.
“For instance, five of the general hospitals in the state have only one doctor each, while the three-state specialist hospitals have a total of six and seven medical doctors respectively.
“Out of the 20 doctors employed in December 2015, only five are left. Out of another set of 20 doctors employed in 2018, only six are left.
“In same circumstance, out of the 20 specialists/consultants employed cumulatively since 2016, only five are left and unfortunately, many more are only waiting for opportunities to leave.
“This has resulted in a progressive decline in the number of doctors from as much as 180 to as low as 71 now
“It is even more disturbing that out of this number, less than 10 are at entry-level, while many others are close to retirement,” he said.
Adeniyi urged government to save the situation by implementing the Ekiti doctors association’s nine-point demands.
He listed the demands of the Ekiti doctors to include proper placement for doctors with full CONMESS, payment of promotion benefits, hazard allowance, rural posting allowance and consequential adjustment on new minimum wage, among others.
“If things should be allowed to continue the way they are at the moment, Ekiti residents might, in no distance time, start to run to other neighbouring states for help,” the NAGGMDP said.