A fresh health crisis is in the offing in Edo State, following the threat of an indefinite strike by doctors in all the hospitals run by the state government. The strike notice was accompanied by a 21-day ultimatum issued to the government to meet the doctors' demands.
Professor Afekhide Omoti, state chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, served the notice of the impending strike via a statement issued in Benin on Tuesday. Omoti warned that failure by the government to pay July and August 2014 salaries of doctors within 21 days will compel the doctors to withhold their services.
The statement listed the grievances of the doctors as including failure by the state government to fully implement the Consolidated Medical Salary, CONMESS; withdrawal of July and August 2014 salaries on account of involvement in countrywide strike called by the national leadership of the NMA; deplorable infrastructure, lack of appropriate working tools and shortage of manpower in state hospitals.
Other grouses include multiple taxation of private hospitals and inefficient management policy, which has hobbled health care delivery. "
"We also note that members of other professional unions including the Academics Staff Union of Universities, ASUU were paid their salaries in spite of the fact that they embarked on a six-month nationwide strike."
The statement threatened that should the state government ignore the doctors' demands between now and 8 am of Monday 2 February, the doctors will suspend their services.
Efforts to get the reaction of the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Aihanuwa Eregie, proved abortive, as she was unreachable on her phone.