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Consultants decry non-payment of hazard allowance, shortfall in honorary consultants’ salaries

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
01 February 2023   |   7:09 am
The Medical and Dental Consultants'Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), has decried the failure of the government to implement the payment of approved Hazard Allowance, outstanding arrears occasioned by skipping; extend the retirement age of health workers as well as correct the shortfall in the salaries of honorary consultants who are clinical lecturers in the Universities to mitigate the massive brain drain in the health sector.

stethoscope PHOTO: shutterstock

The Medical and Dental Consultants’Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), has decried the failure of the government to implement the payment of approved Hazard Allowance, outstanding arrears occasioned by skipping; extend the retirement age of health workers as well as correct the shortfall in the salaries of honorary consultants who are clinical lecturers in the Universities to mitigate the massive brain drain in the health sector.

MDCAN lamented the refusal to address promptly, the welfare issues of her members despite repeated negotiations and processes pledged to resolve these issues.

In a communique jointly signed by the President of the association, Dr Victor Makanjuola and the Secretary-General, Dr Yemi R. Raji after its National Executive Council Meeting, the association expressed concern over the deteriorating shortage in medical manpower across all levels and cadres of health professionals, resulting in failure to fill up advertised vacancies by most of these hospitals.

According to the body, “This shortage in healthcare manpower has impacted negatively on the quality of healthcare services offered to the citizens while the wellbeing of the few remaining healthcare workers is equally not spared as many often suffer from burnout.

The association noted that the increasing threats to the security of lives and properties have continued unabated and more worrisome is the upsurge in violent attacks on healthcare workers in their places of work, leading to deaths in some instances adding that this persistent insecurity also serves as a push factor for the ongoing massive brain drain in the health sector.

The statement read: “This has created pressure on those on the ground, compounding the existing challenge. In addition, some CMDs and MDs have been in acting capacity for several months which is not healthy for the system.

“We are worried about the insistence of the federal government not to pay over seven months’ withheld salaries of the members of the Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASU), despite the worsening economic hardship in the country as well as the failure of some government tertiary hospitals to pay full remuneration to staff who have gone on approved sabbatical leaves.

“There is a need to increase the capacity and scope of government hospitals and the need to improve administrative efficiency”, the body stated.

MDCAN, therefore, urged the federal government to implement the approved hazard allowance for healthcare workers without further delay as well as pay all outstanding arrears. It also asked the government to quickly address the shortfall in the salaries of honorary consultants, who are clinical lecturers.

According to MDCN, all relevant government agencies must put process in motion to ensure the prompt release of relevant circulars to elongate the retirement age of health workers as approved by the government two years ago.

He added that in the interim, all efforts should be made to retain willing and productive consultants after the current age of retirement as a stop-gap measure to cushion the effects of the massive brain drain in the health sector.

It urged government agencies responsible for the appointment of MDs/MDs to avoid unnecessary delays that have recently characterized the appointment of substantive CMDs/MDs.

“Government should consider the plight of university lecturers and their dependents, and pay their withheld salary backlogs without further delay. Hospital management of the concerned health institutions should comply with extant laws and pay full remuneration to staff who have gone on approved sabbatical leaves.

“Government should intensify efforts at resolving the security challenges in the country in order to provide a safe and conducive environment which will ultimately put the country on the part of sustained progress. Also, strict measures must, as a matter of urgency, be put in place to protect health workers in their work environments.

“Government should curtail the activities of unpatriotic elements whose actions are responsible for these worsening security and economic situations”, MDCAN said.

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