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Health, security issues in S’East worry NMA

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South East Caucus of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed worries over the ailing healthcare and security systems in the region.

The caucus, in a communiqué issued in Awka, Anambra State, yesterday, after its general meeting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, appealed to the states in the region to do more to improve the systems for the common good.

Signed by the caucus chairman, Dr. Jide Onyekwelu; and Secretary, Dr. Dubem Awachie, the communiqué commended the Anambra and Enugu states governments for prompt and regular payment of doctors’ salaries, but frowned on the remunerations that were below the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS).

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Further, the NMA caucus criticised the “very poor” condition of health workers in Imo State, while describing the arrears of their Abia counterparts as unpalatable and unacceptable.

The communiqué reads: “Healthcare workers in Imo are still being owed several months. We appreciate the Governor of Imo for appointing Dr. Barth Okorochukwu as the Commissioner for Health and hope for a turnaround in the state’s health sector.

“The outrageous salary arrears owed Abia State-employed doctors remain unpalatable and unacceptable. This has worsened healthcare delivery in the state.”

The caucus urged the Abia government to urgently pay the arrears to the doctors and make efforts to revamp healthcare in the state.

“Anambra State government has continued to pay salaries regularly. However, it is yet to upgrade doctors’ pay to the adjusted 2019 CONMESS, as is obtainable with their federal counterparts.

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“We commend Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi for his giant strides in the state’s health sector. The construction and equipping of a virology centre and an accident and emergency complex at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, as well as other projects stand Ebonyi out in the region,” it added.

The South East doctors opposed the removal of house officers and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) doctors from the scheme of service and salary structure of medical doctors, even as they demanded the immediate withdrawal of the ‘obnoxious’ circular altering the scheme of service for doctors.

Calling on the government to do more to protect the lives of the people in the region, the doctors added: “The killings, banditry, kidnapping and disruption of socio-economic activities in the region portend grave danger to the health service delivery of our people.”

The safety of healthcare workers is paramount in ensuring their continued sacrifices and unhindered service delivery.”

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