…Assures them of a better deal
The Bayelsa State Government has urged resident doctors in the state not to embark on their planned industrial action as it is doing everything possible to address their grievance.
Governor Douye Diri made the plea on Monday during a meeting between the state government and representatives of the Association of Resident Doctors and the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Government House, Yenagoa.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor maintained that his administration was already addressing 2 out of the 3 major demands of the Association.
Emphasizing the need to shelve the planned strike, Senator Diri equally noted that the state is experiencing a major health crisis following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which had ravaged tens of thousands of lives in the country.
His words: “We are aware of your working conditions which have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Health facilities are overstretched in the country and so this is not the right time to go on strike.
“There is a spike in the cases of COVID-19 and the state government is doing all it can to contain the spread of the dreaded virus.
According to him, it is incumbent on doctors and other medical personnel to uphold their hypocratic oath to save lives.
Senator Diri expressed his administration’s gratitude to the sacrifices and invaluable contributions being made by doctors and other health practitioners, particularly in the handling of the COVID-19 infection and other epidemics in the past.
The governor therefore assured that everything would be done within available resources to tackle the challenges facing them.
He said the present administration places high premium on workers welfare and wellbeing which it had demonstrated in the prompt payment of workers salaries, as well as pensioners’ gratuities and allowances.
Earlier in their remarks, President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), Okolobiri, Dr. Oru Inetsol and his predecessor, Dr Tuko Evans identified the disparity in earnings between doctors working in federal and state-owned health institutions due to improper placement in terms of salary scale.
Other pressing needs, according to them, include enhanced hazard allowance for medical personnel, acute shortage of manpower and upgrading of the health facilities particularly at the NDUTH.
Also, Chairman of the state NMA, Dr. Peter Alabrah urged the state government to domesticate and ensure the implementation of the Residency Training Act, which he noted was critical in grooming healthcare professionals.
Others who made contributions at the meeting include Chief Medical Director of the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, Professor Dimie Ogoina, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku, Technical Adviser on Finance, Mr Maxwell Ebibai and his Treasury, Accounts and Revenue counterpart, Mr Timipre Seipulou.