Metro

Ogun doctors threaten strike

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Ogun chapter, says it will go on strike over poor working conditions at the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum issued to the state government.

The association’s chairman, Dr Kunle Ashimi, said at a news conference in Abeokuta on Friday that the ultimatum, issued on June 7, would expire on Thursday.

According to Ashimi, members will have no choice but to embark on strike unless the government addresses their concerns.

He mentioned the non-payment of the reviewed CONMESS salary scale and failure to recruit new doctors as some of the issues requiring government attention.

He noted that despite ongoing discussions with relevant government officials, there had only been verbal assurances without official commitments.

He, therefore, urged the citizens of Ogun to call on the government to take necessary steps to prevent the looming strike, which would disrupt healthcare services across the state.

“The State Executive Council of NMA Ogun issued a 21-day ultimatum to the state government on June 7, which will elapse on June 27.

“This indicated that industrial harmony may not be guaranteed after this date as the pressure of work on the few doctors holding forth is yielding dire consequences.

“Ongoing conversations with relevant government officers only came with verbal assurances but no official commitment yet.

“Concerned affiliates of NMA Ogun have been engaging the government on the need to commence the payment of the reviewed CONMESS salary scale for doctors in the state in order to motivate and retain those who have not left and to attract new ones.

“We use this opportunity to call on well-meaning citizens of Ogun state to impress upon the Ogun government to do the needful to avert any industrial action,” Ashimi said.

The NMA chief said Babcock University Teaching Hospital witnessed a monthly electricity bill surge between N80 million and N100 million to N300 million.

He called for concessions to be given to health institutions to prevent increased costs from being passed onto patients, potentially making healthcare inaccessible for many.

“While we appreciate the zeal of the government to develop the energy sector, we appeal strongly that concessions be given to health institutions.

“These humongous tariffs will eventually be passed on to our poor patients, thereby driving them further away from access to appropriate healthcare services,” he said

On the Cholera outbreak, Ashimi said there were ongoing sensitisation programmes by the association in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and various media organisations.

He stressed the importance of preventive measures and provided contact numbers as released by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, to report suspected cholera cases.

He said the cases would be treated free of charge at designated facilities.

“We use this opportunity to appeal to our people to imbibe preventive measures for the prevention of the spread of Cholera.

“This includes avoiding open defecation, avoiding indiscriminate refuse dumping, washing hands regularly, washing fruits and vegetables well before consuming and treating water before consuming it, either by boiling or treating it with chemical purifying agents.

“We advocate that where there is no wherewithal to do this, two drops of plain household bleach in a litre of water can be a good alternative.

“We also implore schools to monitor food, fruit and snack vendors around the schools to ensure that they practice proper hygiene.

“As well, schools should reintroduce handwashing stations like it was done during the COVID-19 period,” he said.

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