Ondo NMA threatens industrial action
…..Gives State Govt 7days ultimatum over unpaid Hazard allowance.
….Says 150 Doctors at UNIMED Teaching Hospital reduced to 22.
By: our reporter
Industrial unrest is now looming in the health sector of Ondo State as the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has given the State Government 7 days ultimatum to implement the approved hazard allowance and address other critical challenges facing sector.
This is just as 128 medical doctors have left the the state government public service.
This is the highlight of its Communique issued at the end of an Ordinary General Meeting of the Association, held in Akure.
In the communique signed by the State Chairman, Dr Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe and the State Secretary, Dr Adeayo Omotehinse, Ondo NMA noted with concern the continuous shortage of manpower and modern medical equipment at various State hospitals.
Dr Adeyemi-Osowe who read read the Communique, explained that failure to pay his members the hazard allowance, low employment entry point and poor salary structure compare to other neighbouring states.
The NMA Chairman who lamented that doctors in the state are still earning ridiculous five thousand naira as hazard allowance, said there are only 22 resident doctors at UNIMED teaching hospital compared to the previous figure of 150 resident doctors before.
He said the decaying condition of the state health sector, had forced many doctors out of the state service while new ones are not interested in working with the Ondo State government.
“The congress also resolved to give an ultimatum of 7 days to the Government of Ondo State to implement the approved hazard allowance. This being the lowest hanging fruits.
“That failure to implement this after the expiration of the 7 days, the relative industrial harmony in the state health sector shall no longer be guaranteed. The Congress shall reconvene after the expiration of the stated period to chart a way forward.
“The OGM enjoins the state government to resolve the issues of non-availability of equipment at some critical units in our teaching hospital UNIMEDTHC (The CT scan is non-functional for over 12months, no ventilators at the ICU) etc.
“The Congress would like to plead with opinion leaders, religious leaders, traditional rulers, stakeholders and all Ondo state residents interested in a healthy Ondo state to prevail on our government to declare state of emergency in Ondo state health sector with the aim of proffering effective measures and solutions to the sector’s numerous challenges to achieving a healthy, prosperous and peaceful Ondo state,”
Below is the full text of the Communique;
THE COMMUNIQUÉ RELEASED AT THE END OF THE ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING (OGM) OF THE NIGERIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, ONDO STATE HELD ON THURSDAY 8TH FEBRUARY, 2024 AT THE NIGERIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (DOCTORS’ HOUSE), IGBATORO ROAD AKURE.
The Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) / the Congress observed the followings:
That there is dire shortage of health personnel in the State.
Doctors have refused to take up employment with Ondo state government. This is not unconnected with the point of entry into the service which has been reviewed and approval given by the federal government to be at grade level 13 step 2 for doctors.
However Ondo state is still using grade level 12 step 3 hence, the refusal of doctors to take up employment with the State Civil Service as witnessed in the last exercise conducted by Ondo Civil Service Commission.
It was also observed that numerous doctors within the Ondo State Civil Service left for greener pastures locally (neighbouring states such as Osun, Lagos , Ekiti, Kwara, Delta) and internationally, African Countries: Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa, etc and outside the continent: United States of America , Canada, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany etc).
As at the time of writing this communiqué, there are only 22 resident doctors at UNIMEDTHC compared to the previous figure of 150 resident doctors. Only a few weeks ago, 8 doctors left the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit at UNIMEDTHC in Ondo State to same unit at OAUTHC, Ile Ife, Osun State.
The Congress observed that the following units at UNIMEDTHC do not have resident doctors under training- Orthopaedics, Burns and Plastic, Ear, Nose and Throat, Mental Health, and Paediatric surgery.
It was noted with great concerns the collapse of neurosurgery department of the Teaching hospital – no resident doctors and no consultants in that unit presently.
It was observed that, the state General hospitals located at Iwaro-Oka, Ipe, Irele, and Ido-Ani where we used to have at least 5 doctors per General hospital, now have a doctor per General hospital and this doctor is expected to be on call every day of the week and that same doctor is also expected to see to the day to day running of the hospital. This is reminiscent of the slave trade era, where slaves work every minute each day.
The OGM noted with grave concerns the non-implementation of the approved hazard allowance; approved for all doctors in Nigeria in December 2021 and has been implemented for all doctors working with federal government for the past 26 months ago and in almost all the states of the federation. Our neighbour, Ekiti State has been enjoying it for almost one year.
This was eventually approved by Ondo state government in August 2023; it took over 60 days before the approval could be circularized. It was eventually done on 23rd October 2023, with the implementation period backdated to 2nd October, 2023 but now 5 months after, no payment have been made by the state government.
The Congress noted with deep sadness the huge disparities in the salaries of doctors working in Ondo state and that of Ekiti state, Osun state, Kwara state, Edo state to mention a few in one hand and that of the doctors working with Federal Civil Service in another hand.
The OGM observed with great concerns the continued decay of infrastructure in our general hospitals across the state and UNIMEDTHC, a teaching hospital. It also notes the gap in the existence of equipment in these health facilities and institutions.
The Congress, after exhaustive deliberations on these issues therefore reached the following resolutions:
That as a matter of urgency, the state government should fast track the recruitment of health personnel in the state.
It was also resolved that the implementation of the grade level 13 step 2 as a point of entry for medical doctors should be implemented if the government wants doctors to take up employment with Ondo State Civil Service.
The Congress resolved that the huge disparities in the salaries of doctors in Ondo State Civil Service (an oil producing state) and that of the neighbouring states especially Ekiti state ( created out of Ondo state and a non-oil producing state) should be looked into with a view to bridging the gap, without further delay. The State Government should as a matter of urgency set up a committee to enter into negotiation for the implementations of these noted disparity.
The congress also resolved to give an ultimatum of 7 days to the Government of Ondo State to implement the approved hazard allowance. This being the lowest hanging fruits.
That failure to implement this after the expiration of the 7 days, the relative industrial harmony in the state health sector shall no longer be guaranteed.
The Congress shall reconvene after the expiration of the stated period to chart a way forward.
The OGM enjoins the state government to resolve the issues of non-availability of equipment at some critical units in our teaching hospital UNIMEDTHC (The CT scan is non-functional for over 12months, no ventilators at the ICU) etc.
The Congress would like to plead with opinion leaders, religious leaders, traditional rulers, stakeholders and all Ondo state residents interested in a healthy Ondo state to prevail on our government to declare state of emergency in Ondo state health sector with the aim of proffering effective measures and solutions to the sector’s numerous challenges to achieving a healthy, prosperous and peaceful Ondo state.
Finally, we must appreciate all our members still holding forth at all our facilities in the state despite all these numerous challenges enumerated. Let us keep giving our best to the good people of the state, while believing that we shall overcome.
Long live Nigerian Medical Association Ondo State
Long live Ondo State
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Dr Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe
Dr Adeayo Omotehinse