From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The Edo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has drawn the battle line with the state government with the issuance of a 21-day ultimatum to address what it describes as the decay in infrastructure and poor working conditions of doctors.
The 21-day ultimatum commenced January 6 and would expire on January 27.
Chairman of the association in the state, Emmanuel Ighodaro, while addressing journalists in Benin said the ultimatum will, among others things, ensure that the healthcare system in the state meets International standards and best practice.
He said in spite of efforts made by the NMA and other stakeholders to address the issues plaguing the health sector in Edo state, the government has not shown any “convincing commitment” to address them.
According to Ighodaro, the 150 doctors in the state’s employment work in overcrowded hospitals across the three senatorial zones while doctors cannot meet up with the huge health needs of the Edo people.
He also expressed displeasure about the multiple taxation imposed on private health facilities in the state and the incessant harassment of the association’s members by both legal and illegal agents of the state government.
The chairman urged governor Adams Oshiomhole to urgently address the issues raised and avert the imminent health crisis that might befall the state if nothing is done at the expiration of the ultimatum.
It would be recalled that Oshiomhole had scolded doctors in the state for abandoning their jobs and embarking on a warning strike in solidarity with their colleagues under the payroll of the federal government in December.
He described the action of the doctors as provocative, illegal, avoidable and unnecessary.
Oshiomhole at a meeting with the Association of Resident Doctors, Medical and Dental Consultants Association in government House in Benin, said doctors in the state had no business joining the strike when the issues behind the strike had no direct impact on them.