By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THE Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, in Edo State has vowed to commence a warning strike from tomorrow which will lead to the shutdown of the health sector following the expiration of the 21 days ultimatum issued to the state government to fix the problems in the sector.
The doctors alleged that the government had failed to fix the problems in the sector, lamenting that the issue of lack of man power and inadequate health facilities have been the major problems confronting the sector.
But the state government, through the Commissioner for Health, Dr David Osifo, said the NMA was hasty in issuing an ultimatum, insisting that government has identified the problems in the sector and is confronting them head on.
However, the state secretary of the NMA, Dr Harrison Omokhua, who briefed Vanguard shortly after an emergency meeting of the NMA presided over by the chairman, Dr Osaigbovo Emmanuel, alleged that “The NMA issued an ultimatum of 21 days, six weeks ago, which expired two weeks ago.
“And the issues we are talking about are the state of health facilities in government hospitals, lack of manpower, non- employment of health workers in government hospitals since 2012 and inadequate facilities. We also need explanation about plans for the new hospital that was built by the Adams Oshiomhole administration, because it is not being used when we are lacking facilities. We have tried to see how we can get the governor to discuss the issues but no response. So we are commencing a warning strike from November 10.”
But reacting swiftly, the state commissioner for Health, Dr Osifo said: “It is not true that government has not done anything. I invited them to a meeting shortly after they issued the ultimatum and I told them they were too hasty that we should have discussed before they issued the ultimatum.”
“I am also a doctor, and I am a member of NMA so I know the problems. Yes we have some challenges and government has already started tackling them before they issued their ultimatum. I displayed to them the plans of government in the health sector and they were very impressed after the meeting.
“We are aware of the problem of under staffing because for the past ten years no employment in that sector but we are making effort to correct those anomalies. A committee has been set up to collate all dilapidated structures in the health sector and fix them. This government is just one year in office and we already have the blue print of what to do and work will commence soonest” he stated.