Medical doctors practising in hospitals and health facilities owned by the Imo State Government embarked on an indefinite strike Tuesday (today) to press home their demands.
The chairman, Nigeria Medical Association in the state, Dr. Chidiebere Okwara, told PUNCH HealthWise that the doctors’ complaints include non-payment of salaries and non-implementation of the revised 2014 Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, non-domestication of the Residency Training Act, and loss of accreditation for undergraduate medical education at Imo State University, among others.
According to the NMA chairman, the heads of medical institutions are advised to make adequate arrangements to transfer their patients outside the state to ensure care.
In a letter by the state NMA chapter dated November 23 and sent to Governor Hope Uzodinma through the Principal Secretary and made available to PUNCH HealthWise, it noted that the Imo State branch of NMA had, on Monday, 19th October 2020, issued a 21-day ultimatum and strike notice to the state government to press home some demands.
The demands include: “That the Imo State Government should immediately implement the consolidated medical salary structure 2014 circular for all doctors in Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Imo State Specialist Hospital, Hospitals Management Board, Ministry of Health, Local Government Councils and other agencies of Government in Imo State.
“That meanwhile, the outstanding salary arrears owed to some doctors in IMSUTH from March 2020 to date be paid without further delay. In addition, that all salary shortfalls for doctors in Imo State Specialist Hospital, Ministry of Health, Hospitals Management Board, and Local Government Councils be regularized to reflect the existing CONMESS 2011 structure and the arrears paid.
“That processes must begin immediately for the restoration of the lost accreditation status for the Imo State University College of Medicine and some faculties in the Imo State Teaching Hospital, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels respectively including the domestication of the Residency Training Act.
“That the State Government should immediately tackle the infrastructural gaps at the State Teaching Hospital, particularly the access road that leads to the Teaching Hospital.
“That the State Government should as a matter of urgency commence the payment of the COVID 19 special allowance for all doctors who risked their lives and were at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That the State Government should direct the immediate cessation of harassment of our members in Private practice with multiple demand notices for taxes, registrations, and others, pending the harmonization of a consolidated tax structure for all Hospitals in the State.”
The doctors say as a follow-up, the association had an interface with the governor on November 6th to work out a lasting solution to all the lingering problems that have bedeviled the state’s health sector.
The doctors noted that the governor accepted and promised to meet their demands at the end of the deliberations but none of the demands have been met despite the expiration of the 2 weeks extension of the strike ultimatum.
Consequently, the Imo NMA has commenced an indefinite strike with effect from November 24, 2020.
“While the Strike lasts the NMA Imo State Branch shall remain open to work with the Government towards an amicable resolution of these challenges.
“The NMA Imo State shall review this situation as the need arises. Heads of medical institutions are advised to make adequate arrangements to transfer their patients outside the State to ensure care.
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