The Ondo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has raised the alarm over the continued resignation of its members from the state government’s hospitals.
According to the association, about 105 doctors have left the state service in the last one year, a development which it blamed on irregular and percentage payment of salaries by the state government.
The association, in a press statement signed by the NMA state Chairman, Dr Stella Adegbehingbe and the state Secretary, Dr Olorunfemi Owa pointed out that some departments in the state-owned teaching hospital, which could hitherto boast of between 6 and 8 doctors are now left with 1 or 2 doctors.
It noted that the dearth of doctors would make it impossible for the hospitals to function at a minimum acceptable level.
According to the statement, “It is troubling to note that only three house officers are left in the service of the Ondo State Government across the three senatorial zones.
“Consequential vacancies in the medical officer cadre need to be urgently tilled. About 50 medical Doctors in this cadre have left the employment of the Hospital Management Board without replacement over the last few months.
“Yawning vacancies exist in the Resident Doctor and Consultant cadres at the Teaching Hospital. These have remained difficult due to the haphazard safety payments.
“We have it on good records that about 105 medical doctors have resigned their employment from the Teaching Hospital in the last year alone.
“Ondo State has not been able to engage requisite numbers of House officers since 2019. This has made our work almost impossible because this group of Doctors has a peculiar role in Health service delivery.
“There is no gainsaying that the ongoing laudable efforts at having a Contributory Health Insurance Scheme in the state can only be successful if the urgent issue of manpower need is adequately addressed,” the NMA said
Other factors compounding Ondo State’s medical travails
The state does not have a commissioner for health since the second term of Governor Akeredolu’s government commenced in February 2021.
Doctors and nurses in the state had embarked on an indefinite strike in February over poor working conditions and salary cut.
Meanwhile, the governor had recently in an interview said he was not elected to pay salaries alone and that medical doctors in the state’s payroll were not special than other workers.
According to the governor, “They shouldn’t try this again. We are not fearful, we are ready for them. They are not different from teachers, lawyers, journalists and other categories in the state.
“All of them have students going to school like doctors. People should help us talk to them.
“There is no government that will use all its monies to pay salaries. We are not elected to pay salaries alone.”