ABEOKUTA- The doctors under the aegis of National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners, (NAGGMDP), have issued a 21 day ultimatum to the government of 13 states of the federation after which they will be forced to begin a strike action.
Speaking through its National President, Dr Nurud-Din Akindele, at a news conference held in Abeokuta,Ogun State capital , the doctors said the affected states owing between two and eight months salaries include; Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Kogi, Ondo, Nasarawa, Osun , Oyo and Plateau states.
The association also threw its weight behind the action of Soccio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP ) which has dragged governors owing their workforce before the International Court of Justice, ICC, at the Hague.
Akindele, who was flanked by the Publicity Secretary and Acting General Secretary of the association, Dr Isiaka Adekunle and Dr Olufemi Oroge respectively also appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to compel the states to pay their workforce, saying it is callous for any state to keep owing it’s workers. He bemoaned the poor state of health sector in the country. “We openly declare our support for SERAP and will partner with them in their bid to make all states owing salaries to the ICC just as we will be willing to supply intrinsic information.
“It is criminal, callous and wicked for any state to owe its workforce,” he said. The president contended that the healthcare pyramid which begins from the primary health care to secondary and tertiary health system had been abused, saying that the country could be in “a mess” due to neglect of the first two tiers.
“All states in Nigeria are guilty very poor budgetary allocation to health. Even the little amount in the budgets for health is not always released to the extent that the performance of some of them is between 2%/5% annually.
“Instead of building over 100 new primary health facilities to augment existing ones, we believe that strengthening existing primary health care centres have greater value for health care delivery that white elephant projects. “Making existing primary health care systems better will allow the pyramid of health care delivery which is primary, secondary then tertiary stand upright with better service delivery.
“Any true effort to improve the Nigerian health sector must take cognizance of the tripod that stands successful health care delivery as a pyramid- primary down, secondary middle and tertiary apex for improved and successful health care delivery. “The danger of not paying doctors is that the impoverished prevailing situation due to owed debt of salaries will increase the health problems of the citizens.
“Due to this humiliation, the doctor must still see the patient and will definitely not be performing at his best with the possibility of exposing”, he said.