Posted by News Express | 8 June 2016 | 2,105 times
The Bayelsa State branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Tuesday said that doctors in the state public hospitals will be compelled to withdraw health services over
Five months salary arrears owed its members.
Dr. Israel Jeremaih, Chairman of NMA in Bayelsa who announced the plan in a news conference at NMA secretariat in Yenagoa said that the association had issued the mandatory 21 days notice to the state government.
The strike notice, dated June 6 was for the three affiliates of NMA in the state. The NMA noted that the nonpayment of salary in Bayelsa since January 2016 has taken a toll on the health sector as residents could no longer afford to seek medical attention and compelled to either patronise quacks or resort to self medication.
The NMA affiliates are Association of Resident Doctors at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri; Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria; and National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners.
He noted that the worst affected were the House Officers who are the most vulnerable in the medical profession as they can no longer meet their obligations and now face untold hardship.
“Despite the untold hardship occasioned by this nonpayment of salaries for five months now, our members have kept faith with our Hippocratic Oath and continued to render services and ensured that Bayelsa people get the needed healthcare.
“The continued non-payment of salary has adversely affected healthcare delivery in the state.
“Hospital attendance has markedly reduced, patients can no longer procure drugs, pay for tests, settle bills on discharge and in the worst case scenario, opt to die at home,” Jeremiah said.
The NMA noted that the association was not part of the agreement that the state government reached with organised labour to pay workers in the state 50 per cent salary pending the improvement of the state’s revenue.
The association maintained that it will insist on full payment of their members’ salary as it was excluded from the meetings where the agreement to accept 50 percent salary was reached and therefore cannot be bound by the agreement.
“We dissociate ourselves completely from the purported agreement between NLC/TUC and Bayelsa government where a payment of 50 percent monthly salaries among other agreements were said to have been reached. We insist on full payment of our salaries 100 percent in full,” NMA insisted.
The association noted that if the outstanding salaries were not paid before the expiration of the strike notice which will lapse on June 27, 2016 all affiliates of NMA will be compelled to go on indefinite strike and full withdrawal of medical services.
They urged well-meaning people of Bayelsa, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Royal fathers, opinion leaders and statesmen to intervene to avert the looming strike and its disastrous consequences.
•Photo shows Bayelsa Governor Seriake Dickson.
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