Victor Akinkuolie Ado-Ekiti
As the strike embarked on by doctors in Ekiti state, entered fourth week, the State Government has appealed to the striking workers to reconsider their steps and suspend the action in the interest of the people.
The doctors under the aegis of National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) are currently on strike over what they described as inability of the Ekiti government to pay their hazard allowance and other entitlements.
The government also denied the allegation raised by the body that Ekiti three Specialist and 19 general hospitals as well as the primary health centres are experiencing acute dearth of medical doctors, saying the state has over 300 doctors on its payroll, contrary to the frightening situation painted by the striking doctors.
The NAGGMDP, had at a press conference addressed by its State Chairman, Dr Femi Adeniyi accused Governor Kayode Fayemi of paying lip service to the payment of hazard, insurance , rural and other allowances, thereby crippling the health sector with attendant brain drain caused by mass exodus of doctors out of Ekiti.
In a statement in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua , said : “There are over 300 doctors in the service of Ekiti State Government and more than 700 doctors cumulatively in the state.
“Once again, Government appeals to the striking doctors under the aegis of NAGGMDP to reconsider their position and return to their duty posts immediately. Continuing with this ill-timed strike action will only put the lives of Ekiti residents at more risk during this COVID-19.
Tracing the efforts made by government to avert the disharmony, Olumilua added: “NAGGMDP leadership and that of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) were invited to more than seven meetings between June 11 and July 8, 2020 for constructive engagement. Government empathised with the association but explained that the State could not meet all their demands due to the global pandemic and dwindling monthly federal allocation and low IGR.
“While most of the association’s demands were not peculiar to them alone, they emphasised the implementation of the “skipping” in their salary scale; that means Medical Officers will commence their career in the civil service on GL 13 instead of the current GL 12 while Consultants will be appointed on GL 16 instead of the current GL 15, as approved by the National Council on Establishments (NCE)”.
Olumilua promised that the government had decided to meet all the demands of the doctors instalmentally, insisting that these would be done in such a way that other sectors won’t be neglected .
“The timing of this strike action, in the middle of a global public health crisis when the citizens need their services the most, borders on insensitivity.
“Government calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to appeal to the striking doctors not to allow themselves to be pawns in the hands of political detractors”.