The Nigeria Medical Association, Nasarawa State Council, has given Governor, Abdullahi Sule, a 21-day ultimatum to address welfare issues concerning its members or face a strike action.
The NMA Chairman in the state, Dr Peter Attah, while briefing newsmen in Lafia, the state capital, said the ultimatum starts on Tuesday, June 13, to end on July 3.
Dr. Attah said the doctors would withdraw their services if the state government fails to meet their demands by the expiration of the ultimatum.
He listed some of the problems that needed to be addressed to include non-implementation of promotions for Doctors and Annual Salary increments for over nine years, non-implementation of N30,000 minimum wage and consequential adjustments.
Others include non-implementation of the reviewed Hazard allowance circular, non-payment of the accrued 17 months salary arrears, high burden of taxation, and inadequate manpower and overwork load.
He revealed that 25 doctors employed in 2014 at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia, and the Hospital Management Board, have not been promoted for nine years.
Dr, Attah said the association visited the governor on January 17, 2023, and tabled the issues for his consideration, but wondered why they were yet to be addressed.
According to him, the association has given enough time for their demands to be addressed but noted that the state government has been insensitive to their plight.
He explained that the association has shown understanding towards ensuring industrial harmony, but the state government has failed to reciprocate the gesture.
Dr Attah further said of late, 27 medical doctors have left the services of the state due to poor welfare packages.
“20 doctors resigned from DASH and seven from the Hospital Management Board in the last three weeks,” he added.
He explained that the shortage of doctors was putting so much pressure on the few on the ground and that the development has led to most doctors preferring to work in facilities located in rural areas.
He said the World Health Organisation standard specified that one doctor is expected to attend to about 600 people, but the ratio in Nasarawa State is one doctor to more than 20,000 people.
Dr Attah advised that it is better to improve the welfare of doctors to curtail brain drain than to replace them because the new ones will still leave after some time.
The NMA Chairman suggested an upward review of hazard allowance, and call-duty allowances, to reduce taxes and not tax the allowances as well as give doctors vehicles and housing loans as part of measures to curtail brain drain in the state.