Impending strike by medical doctors in government hospitals in Edo State could plunge the health sector into another crisis, following insistence by the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), to shut down the sector with a warning strike commencing from Friday.
The NMA says the warning strike follows expiration of the 21 days ultimatum issued to the state government to fix the problems confronting the sector.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo, however accused the NMA of being hasty in issuing ultimatum, noting that government has identified the problems in the sector and is confronting them head on.
The NMA on the other hand, alleged that the government had failed to fix the problems confronting the sector, just as it identified alleged lack of man power and inadequate health facilities as the major problems confronting the sector.
The State Secretary of the NMA, Dr. Harrison Omokhua, who briefed journalists shortly after an emergency meeting of the NMA, alleged that the body issued ultimatum of 21 days, six weeks ago which expired two weeks ago.
“The issues we are talking about is the state of health facilities in government hospitals, lack of man power, none employment of health workers in government hospitals since 2012 and inadequate facilities.
“We also need explanation about plans for the new hospital that was built by the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole administration, because it is not being used when we are lacking facilities.
“We have tried to see how we can get the governor to discuss the issues but no response. So we are commencing a warning strike from Friday 10th November,” Omokhua said.
Dr. Osifo, the state commissioner for Health, in his reaction, disclosed that the state government has begun tackling the issues raised by the doctors.
“It is not true that government has not done anything. I invited them for a meeting shortly after they issued the ultimatum and I told them they were too hasty that we should have discussed before they issue ultimatum. I am also a doctor, and I am a member of NMA, so I know the problems.
“Yes, we have some challenges and government has already started tackling them before they issued their ultimatum. I displayed to them the plans of government in the health sector and they were very impressed after the meeting.
“We are aware of the problem of under staffing because for the past 10 years, no employment in that sector, but we are making effort to correct those anomalies.
“A committee has been set up to collate all dilapidated structures in the health sector and fix them. This government is just one year in office and we already have the blue print of what to do and work will commence soonest,” he stated.