Health

June 21, 2024

Poor working condition: Ogun NMA threatens strike, issues 21 days ultimatum

Kogi doctors protest staff shortage: 158 leave in 4 Years, female colleagues face miscarriages

Doctors

By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta

The Ogun State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has issued a 21-day ultimatum to the state government, threatening industrial action due to poor working conditions.

The association’s Chairman, Dr Kunle Ashimi, said at a news conference in Abeokuta on Friday that the ultimatum, issued on June 7, would expire on Thursday, June 27, 2024.

According to Ashimi, members will have no choice but to embark on strike unless the government addresses their concerns.

Ashimi said, unless the state government takes immediate action to address their concerns, members would embark on industrial action.

He highlighted that despite ongoing discussions with relevant government officials, there have been only verbal assurances without any official commitment.

He urged the citizens of Ogun State to pressure the government into taking necessary steps to prevent the looming strike, which could disrupt healthcare services across the state.

“The State Executive Council of NMA Ogun issued a 21-day ultimatum to the state government on June 7, 2024, which will elapse on June 27, 2024, indicating that industrial harmony may not be guaranteed after this date as the pressure of work on the few doctors holding forth is yielding dire consequences.

“Conversations have been ongoing in this respect with relevant government officers, with verbal assurances but no official commitment from the government yet. We use this opportunity to call on well-meaning citizens of Ogun State to impress upon the Ogun State government to do the needful in order to avert any industrial action.

Ashimi noted that hospitals like Babcock University Teaching Hospital have seen their monthly electricity bills surge from between ₦80-100 million to ₦300 million.

He called for concessions to be given to health institutions to prevent these increased costs from being passed onto patients, potentially making healthcare inaccessible for many.

“Over the last few weeks, we have been inundated with SOS messages from health institutions across the state concerning the enormous increase in operating costs of hospitals occasioned by the recent increase in electricity tariffs.

“For example, Babcock University Teaching Hospital, a mission tertiary health institution, informed us that their electricity bills jumped from between ₦80-100 million monthly to ₦300 million in the last month.

“ While we appreciate the zeal of the government to develop the energy sector, we appeal strongly that concessions be given to health institutions, as these humongous tariffs will eventually be passed on to our poor patients, thereby driving them further away from access to appropriate healthcare services.”

Ashimi also addressed the ongoing cholera sensitization programmes in collaboration with the Ogun State Ministry of Health and various media houses.

He emphasized the importance of preventive measures and provided contact numbers released by the Honorable Commissioner of Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, for reporting suspected cholera cases.

He said the cases would be treated free of charge at designated facilities.

“In Ogun State, the Nigerian Medical Association in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders including the Ogun State Ministry of Health and various media houses have been carrying out sensitization programmes whilst also strengthening the health system to cater for cases in the state.

“To this end the Honorable Commissioner of Health, Dr. Tomi Coker has released phone numbers to NMA Ogun to be disseminated to all our members and healthcare facilities both public and private that can be called when any patient presents with symptoms of Cholera.

“ Such patients will be transported to and treated free at the facilities designated for the management of Cholera cases across the state.

“We use this opportunity to appeal to our people to imbibe preventive measures for the prevention of the spread of Cholera, including avoiding open defecation, avoiding indiscriminate refuse dumping, washing hands regularly, washing fruits and vegetable well before consuming and treating water before consuming it either by boiling or treating with chemical purifying agents.

“ We advocate that where there is no wherewithal to do this, 2 drops of plain household bleach in 1litre of water is a good alternative.

“We also implore schools to monitor food, fruit and snacks vendors around the schools to ensure that they practice proper hygiene. As well, schools should reintroduce hand washing stations like was done during the COVID-19 period.

“By working together, we can prevent Cholera from spreading to Ogun state.”

Ashimi urged the Ogun State government to take immediate action to address the issues raised and avert the potential strike, which could severely disrupt healthcare services across the state.