Doctors in Nasarawa State begin warning strike

Doctors of the Nasarawa State Council of Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, have stopped working as the union directed a five-day warning strike after the expiration of the three weeks ultimatum issued to the State Government.

Credible News reports that the association had, on June 13 issued a three weeks ultimatum over welfare issues concerning their members.

The State’s NMA Chairman, Dr. Peter Attah, on Wednesday in Lafia, said the decision to embark on the strike was taken at an emergency meeting of the association on Tuesday.

The chairman stated that he explained to the congress a previous meeting with the delegation of the government led by Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, the Deputy Governor, on two occasions but no serious commitment allegedly came from the government.

“We meet two times after our ultimatum on June 13, but unfortunately the government is only paying lip service and was not serious about meeting our demands”, Attah said.

He added that after hearing the updates, the congress unanimously agreed that members should withdraw their services in all the State Government-owned facilities from 8:00am on Wednesday, July 5 to 8:00am on Monday, July 10.

“If by Monday July 10, the government still refuses to meet our demands, we will call for a congress meeting and decide on the next line of action”, Dr. Attah added.

The NMA chairman further said that because the association has the interest of the health sector at heart, it decided to allow doctors with Federal Medical Centre, Keffi continue to render services for now.

“But if the government refuses to resolve the lingering issues by Monday, we may be forced to ask our colleagues in FMC and private facilities to join the strike”, he threatened..

Dr. Attah listed some of their demands to include: non-implementation of promotions for doctors and annual salary increment for over nine years, non-implementation of N30,000 minimum wage and consequential adjustments.

Others are: non-implementation of the reviewed hazard allowance circular and the accrued 19 months arrears, high burden of taxation, inadequate manpower and overworking.

He said that 25 doctors who were employed in 2014 at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia and the State Hospital Management Board were not promoted for nine years now.

The association had given the state government enough time to address their demands but the government seems insensitive to their plight,

He revealed further that 88 medical doctors left the service of the state in 2023 alone due to poor welfare package.

He explained that the shortage of doctors is putting so much pressure on the few ones who have decided to stay, to the extent that doctors now prefer to work in rural areas than facilities in urban areas.

He explained that the 19 general hospitals in the state have only 33 doctors which he described as grossly inadequate by any standard.

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