He said the enforcement has become imperative due to the ravaging effects of the pandemic and its attendant morbidity
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Ondo State chapter, on Monday, decried what it called mass exodus of doctors in the state over alleged irregular payment of salary and poor conditions of service for health workers in the state.
NMA Chairman in the state, Dr Stella Adegbehingbe, said this at the inauguration of a medical clinic, built by the association at Oda road, Akure.
Adegbehingbe cited irregular payment of salaries of medical doctors by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the reason for the poor state of the health sector in the state.
The NMA chairman said that welfare of doctors had been very challenging, adding: “As we speak now, the last salary we collected was in March.”
“The one month backlog of salary for 2021 is still there. So, this has caused lots of hardship for our members and it has resulted in some of them leaving the state.
“It is even affecting employment in the state. When you want to employ somebody and he hears that the last salary was paid was in March when we are in July, such a person will be discouraged.
“This has been impacting negatively on our health sector in Ondo State. The sector is going down rapidly. There has been shortage of manpower because of this issue of salary,” she stated.
Adegbehingbe appealed to government to prioritise welfare of health workers in the state to avoid more exodus of health workers.
Speaking on the project, she said that the clinic was part of the association’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its efforts at contributing its quota to the development of the state.
“We found out that there was no clinic in this community which is far from the main town. The foundation laying was done 11 years ago by the then executives and the successive executives also contributed their quota.
“We have been doing it with our money. So, when we came on board, we felt the clinic was already in advanced stage, in spite of irregularities in our salary.
“We then said: ‘let us try and complete the project’ because this place is far from the main town and the road is bad.
“No doubt, this project will go a long way in helping the people of the community. We are going to start with outpatients. It is easier to manage; we can easily treat them and write their medications,” she said.
In his remarks, Akeredolu explained that government could not do it alone, hence the need for cooperation of doctors and other health workers in the state.
Akeredolu, represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Banji Ajaka, said that government was doing everything possible to ensure that welfare of healthcare workers was taken care of.
He called on doctors in the state to assist the present administration in achieving laudable programmes, as the government could not do it alone.
The governor also seized the occasion to comment on the shortage of manpower in hospitals across the state.
“We don’t just want to employ, we want to have our data so as to know how many doctors we have; what is the optimal level of manning them?
“We want to redistribute our personnel, not just saying that we don’t have enough personnel in Okitipupa while we have many in Ikare,” he said.
The governor also said that the implementation of the state Contributory Health Scheme would ensure unfettered access to qualitative healthcare at affordable costs in the state.
According to him, the commencement of the health scheme will move the state in the direction of universal health coverage for its citizens.
The traditional ruler of the community, the Olu of Ilekun, Oba Banjamin Olufemi, thanked the association for the gesture, nothing that the clinic would complement the basic health centre in the community.