By Kemi Olatunde
Ondo State Government has been called upon to make salaries and allowances of health workers competitive in order to prevent brain drain in the health sector.
President, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Uche Rowland Ojinmah made the call during a press conference to mark the 2023 Physicians’ week in Akure .
According to him, health workers leave in droves to foreign countries for greener pastures, noting that they can be made to stay with competitive salaries and other entitlements.
He commended the state government for its resolve to recruit 1,000 health workers into its health facilities just as it asked for quick implementation of the exercise.
He said the association awaits the recruitment, adding that government should make working environment conducive in order to prevent the mass exodus of health workers from the system.
Represented by the Ondo State Chairman of NMA, Dr. Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe, he lamented the economic hardship in the country, calling on government to commence the payment of the recently reviewed CONMESS and CONHESS salary structures with their arrears and the accoutrement allowance for medical doctors and dentists.
He berated the level of insecurity in the country especially among doctors and dentists, describing kidnapping and insecurity as major causes of medical brain drain.
He noted that the routine incapacitation of the Medical and Dental Council (MDCN) regulatory function is no longer acceptable as no case of medical negligence or malpractice can be investigated or tried.
“The plan to stop funding Medical and Dental Council (MDCN) from next year to us is ill conceived and can only lead to disaster. The job of MDCN which is regulation of medical and dental practice is so important that funding her by government is appropriate. If we stop funding the MDCN, I wonder who will want to do it? Probably the doctors and dentists will take over funding a body that regulates and may punish them if necessary,” he said.
The NMA chairman denounced the association from the persistent attempt by certain individuals and bodies to interfere with regulation of medical education and standards especially as it relates to board licensing of foreign trained medical graduates saying “we have reviewed in detail the processes and content of these exams and we make bold to say that any medical graduate that fails them should be humble enough to seek help and not engage in brazen arm twisting and blackmail.”
He called on the National Assembly to resist being used to compromise the quality of healthcare delivery in Nigeria and urged government to immediately investigate the quality of medical education being offered to Nigerians in Ukraine.
He implored all doctors to take care of their health in order to deliver qualitative care to patients, adding that they should be more patient with their patients due to the present economic hardship.
He however appealed to government to begin the implementation of members’ hazard allowance in order to avoid strike action by members on October 27, 2023, in the state.