By Steve Oko
The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Abia State chapter, has said there is no going back on its earlier threat to completely shut down the health sector in the state, if salary arrears of doctors in the employ of the state Government were not cleared by December 8.
This was contained in a communique issued by NMA after its emergency meeting Sunday at its Aba zonal office, and made available to newsmen on Monday.
According to the communique jointly signed by the NMA Chairman, Dr Abali Isaiah; and Secretary, Dr Daniel Ekeleme, doctors in Abia State University Teaching Hospital Aba, ABSUTH are owed arrears of 25 months while their counterparts in the Health Management Board, HMB, are owed for 13 months.
NMA decried the fate of the affected doctors, warning that if by the expiration of the deadline Government failed to heed its demands, the entire health system in the state would be crippled.
It said that both public and private health facilities would be on lockdown until the backlog of arrears are defrayed.
NMA further said that Government should be held accountable for the obvious consequences of the impending action.
The communique read in part:”Doctors working at ABSUTH and HMB are currently being owed between 21 and 25 months and 13 months salary arrears respectively.
“The 21 days Ultimatum approved by National Executive Council (NEC) of NMA and given to ABSG on 17th Nov.2023, to clear the aforementioned salary arrears is currently in its 17th day.
“ABSG is yet to show any serious commitment to the course; and doctors working with ABSUTH and HMB are currently undergoing an untold hardship
“Our ultimatum to the ABSG still stands and running.Congress insisted on the payment of what is owed Doctors as condition to avert the impending strike.
“Failure to meet the above-mentioned demands on or before 8th of December 2022 would force ALL Doctors in federal, state, and private sectors in Abia State to proceed on total and indefinite strike.
” ABSG should be held responsible for any medical mishap that may occur during the period of the industrial disharmony.”