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NMA set for showdown with Edo government


Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

Edo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) yesterday described as laughable threat by the state government to engage private doctors in the event of the industrial action by doctors in the state.
A statement signed by the state chairman and Secretary of the NMA, Dr Emmanuel Osaigbovo and Dr. Harry Omokhua and made available to journalists in Benin City said the association was surprised that the only response by the state government to its legitimate agitations was one of threat and intimidation.
“Up till now, there has been no communication to the NMA by the government since the issuance of the ultimatum.
“The Edo State government says that our demands are unrealistic. If we may ask, what is unrealistic in asking that you employ more doctors to man the 34 health facilities in the state so that our people can get better care? What is unrealistic in asking for better facilities in the hospitals to enable the health personnel make better evaluation, diagnosis and consequent management of patients? What is unrealistic in asking for an equitable and encouraging remuneration for the demoralized Edo State health workforce?”
The statement said the “Plan by the government to employ private doctors when we withdraw our Services is quite laughable as the Doctors will probably have to come with their personal x-ray units, theatres, decent consulting rooms, drugs, laboratory equipment or maybe build new hospital because these things are grossly lacking in Edo State. Even the best of trained hands will be handicapped in the discharge of their duties in Edo State due to lack of working materials and equipment.
“The private Doctors to be employed by the government will have to be Doctors from Uganda, Togo or Lesotho or maybe India who will perform operations with candle or torch lights and who will work for days and weeks without rest because there is inadequate manpower.”
The association said during the campaign for election of Governor Godwin Obaseki, the association did not ask for money but requested for the revamping of the healthcare system in the state with adequate manpower, facilities, physical infrastructure and a well-motivated workforce. “To his credit, he has organized innumerable workshops, Strategy sessions on modalities to improve the healthcare system in the state. Our questions are: how many hospitals have been built or renovated after these workshops? How many doctors have been employed? How many nurses have been employed? How many hospital ward assistants have been employed?
“As custodians of the health of the people of Edo State, we have a responsibility to draw government attention to these issues. Edo people deserve an efficient and effective healthcare system.
“In the past, patients were referred from private hospitals to government hospitals for investigations. Today, patients are referred from Edo State government hospitals to private hospitals for even X-rays. This situation is unacceptable to the Nigerian Medical Association and we will not accept it. Healthcare is a social responsibility of government. It is a right and not a privilege.

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