NMA Threatens to Shutdown Health Sector in Edo over Poor Facilities

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

Following the expiration of 21-day ultimatum issued to Edo State Government to fix problems confronting its health sector, the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has vowed to commence a warning strike from November 10, 2017, which will lead to the shutdown of the health sector in the state.

The medical body alleged that the state government had failed to fix the problems confronting the sector, lamenting that the issues of lack of man power and inadequate health facilities have been the major problems confronting the sector.

Briefing journalists shortly after an emergency meeting presided by the NMA state chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Osaigbovo, Dr. Harrison Omokhua alleged that the state government did nothing since the NMA issued ultimatum of 21 days, six weeks ago which expired two weeks ago.

“And the issues we are talking about is the state of health facilities in government hospitals, lack of man power, none employment of health workers in government hospitals since 2012 and inadequate facilities. We also need explanation about plans for the new hospital that was built by the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole administration, because it is not being used when we are lacking facilities. We have tried to see how we can get the Governor Obaseki to discuss the issues but no response. So we are commencing a warning strike from Friday 10th November”.

In a swift reaction however, the state government through the Commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo, noted that the NMA was hasty in issuing ultimatum, insisting that government has identified the problems in the sector and are confronting them head on.

The state commissioner for Health stressed: “It is not true that government has not done anything. I invited them (NMA) for a meeting shortly after they issued the ultimatum and I told them they were too hasty that we should have discussed before they issue ultimatum.

“I am also a doctor, and I am a member of NMA so I know the problems. Yes we have some challenges and government has already started tackling them before they issued their ultimatum. I displayed to them the plans of government in the health sector and they were very impressed after the meeting.”

He also said, “We are aware of the problem of under staffing because for the past ten years no employment in that sector but we are making effort to correct those anomalies. A committee has been set up to collate all dilapidated structures in the health sector and fix them. This government is just one year in office and we already have the blue print of what to do and work will commence soonest.”