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NMA threatens strike in Nasarawa over welfare issues



The Nasarawa State Council of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has given Governor Abdullahi Sule of the State a 21-day ultimatum to address welfare issues concerning their members or face a strike action.

Dr. Peter Attah, NMA Chairman in the state, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Lafia, the state capital.

He explained that the ultimatum starts on Tuesday, June 13, and ends July 3.

He threatened that the doctors would withdraw their services if the government fails to meet their demands by the expiration of the ultimatum.

He listed some of the problems to include non-implementation of promotions for Doctors and Annual Salary increment for over nine years, non-implementation of N30,000 minimum wage and consequential adjustments.

Others are non-implementation of the reviewed Hazard allowance circular and the accrued 17 months salary arrears, High burden of Taxation and inadequate manpower and overwork load.

He said 25 doctors who were employed in 2014 at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, and the Hospital Management Board have not been promoted for nine years now.

The NMA Chairman added that the association visited the governor on January 17, 2023, and tabled the issues for his consideration, but wandered why nothing was done to address them.

According to him, the association had given the state government enough time to address their demands but the government has been insensitive to their plight.

The Chairman explained that the association has shown understanding with the government towards ensuring industrial harmony, but the government has failed to reciprocate the gesture.

Dr Attah further said that 27 Medical Doctors have left the services of the state in the last one month due to poor welfare package.

“Twenty doctors resigned from DASH and seven from the Hospital Management Board in the last three weeks,” he said.

He explained that the shortage of doctors is putting so much pressure on the few ones that have decided to stay, to the extend that doctors now prefer to work in rural areas than in facilities in town.

He said the standard of World Health Organization is that one doctor is expected to attend to about 600 people, but the ratio in Nasarawa State is one doctor to more than 20,000 people.

Dr Attah advised that it is better to improve welfare of doctors to curtail brain drain than to replace them because the new ones will still leave after sometimes.

The NMA Chairman suggested an upward  review of hazard allowance, call-duty allowances,  reduce taxes and not tax the allowances as well as give doctors vehicles and housing loans as part of measures to curtail brain drain in the state.

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