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OSAMDO wishes to use this medium to reawaken the consciousness of the people of the State to the unaddressed challenges that have continued to bedevil healthcare delivery to the people of the State of Osun.
Of course the Government of the state is quick to say that close to two billion naira has been spent on the state hospitals. The question therefore would be why are those hospitals deserted for inability to provide more than Paracetamol tablets? Why the lack of basic resuscitation care has continued to lead to avoidable death of many people-even the rich and affluent politicians? The answer is not far-fetched.
- DECAYING HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE: Investments have been misdirected at capital projects that have benefitted only contractors and not the patients that come to these hospitals. Basic equipment for diagnosis and treatment have remained obsolete and indeed largely unavailable. What sets a hospital apart from a hotel is the equipment in place and the quality of man power. It is these two that have been grossly neglected in the state! None of the State Hospitals has facilities for oxygen delivery in the emergency units, let alone defibrillators, which are mere complements of a standard ambulance. It has gotten so bad that methylated spirits, antiseptic lotions and syringes have become very rare commodities in our hospitals! This though should not be surprising as 2013 was the last time the state government stocked the hospitals with essential drugs.
- HEALTH WORKERS ARE GROSSLY INADEQUATE: Doctors, nurses and other health workers are grossly inadequate and overworked, and no one seems to care. As we speak, there are far less than a hundred doctors employed in the state civil service to take care of the over four million population of the state. These few doctors are spread over some 56 secondary health facilities. The implication is that many of these facilities go with the names of a secondary facility, but do not have one doctor in the least! The state hospitals are however expected to have not less than 30 doctors each to function optimally. Many of these facilities cannot run round the clock because they do not have the required complement of staff to do so. How then can people get the kind of care they deserve from such a system?
One would have expected that the efforts being put in by these very few doctors and other health workers would be appreciated by the government, who ought to have prioritized their welfare, as a show of commitment to the health of the people. The opposite has been the case. Against all known labour laws and without consulting the Nigeria Medical Association in the state or other body of doctors, the government began to mutilate the wages of our members by paying them 50% or less of their wages. This amounts to a quarter of salary of colleagues working in nearby Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals (OAUTHC) in Ile-Ife as the Government refused to pay the revised consolidated salary scale for Medical Officers (CONMESS) approved since 2014. This demoralising situation has been on for the last two years, and we continue to say this is unfair, unjust and not right! There is no way doctors who have been forced into financial embarrassment by the State Government can be in a good frame of mental, social and psychological well-being to solve the health problems of good people of the State.
- FOUR MONTH ARREARS OF SALARIES: We also wish to make abundantly clear that the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, should be held responsible for the industrial action embarked upon by this association in the course of this unfortunate development. The government failed in the area of proper communication and withheld important information. In a belated meeting with the Governor on 24th December 2015, he declined to make just a verbal commitment that arrears of the mutilated salaries would be paid when things get better. This underlined the fact that the problem with our salaries was not the inability of the state to pay, but the unwillingness of the government to pay for the hard labour of our people. Therefore, the posturing of the Governor was the reason the strike came about in the first place, and why it lasted as long as it did. It also smacks of double standard for a government who shirks a fundamental and the lawful responsibility of prompt salary payment to jump at a “no work no pay” rule in other to punish ONLY the doctors for demanding their legitimate right. We therefore urge the Governor to be noble enough to accept responsibility for pushing us to the wall and pay without further delay all our emoluments before, during and after the strike.
- NO PROMOTION, CONFIRMATION AND CONVERSON SINCE 2013. Furthermore, our members have not been promoted since 2013, ditto for conversion. A system that has less than five Specialist Doctors in her service refused to appoint members that had completed their fellowship training programme. Some members’ appointments have not been confirmed for more than 3 years now, despite the fact that the process has no financials implication. This further underlines the unwillingness to improve the welfare of our members.
- WITHHOLDING OF MEMBERS’ PENSION AND OTHER RELATED DEDUCTIONS: The government has a constitutional responsibility to contribute to our pension funds scheme and has been deducting requisite amount from our salaries. Unfortunately, neither the amount taken from us nor that which ought to come from the government is being remitted. This government is therefore deliberately jeopardizing our post-retirement future by denying us the funds that should be working for us on the go. Without mincing words, this government has denied us every entitlement attributable to civil service.
- RESUMPTION OF FULL SALARY AND PAYMENTS OF 22-MONTH OUTSTANDING ARREARS: We are appealing to the State Government to prioritize the WELFARE of her workers by urgently resuming payment of Full salaries and clearing the outstanding 22-MONTHS SALARY ARREARS. At the height of the last agitations, the Head of Service made a promise that the welfare of the State workers will be prioritized. However, despite efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to mitigate our sufferings similar commitment is yet to be seen from the State Government.
The monthly budget support received by the Osun State government from the federal Government, the internally generated revenue and the full local government allocation, besides other periodic funds from the Federal government, can do more than pay the mutilated monthly salaries being paid. We therefore urge the members of the public, royal fathers, well-meaning and health seeking people of Osun State to constantly impress upon the governor to make use of the various cash flows to the State, and especially the Paris Club refunds to pay up ALL the outstanding wages, and to henceforth pay our full salary. Our full salary is the full corrected CONMESS: not 50%, not 99%.
- NO PROVISION OF RUNNING GRANTS TO THE STATE HEALTH FACILITIES! Another unusual practice in the state is non-provision of the monthly running grants to the Health Facilities. This has made general maintenance of hospital facilities difficult and provision of essential consumables like gloves & antiseptic lotions -among others- unavailable.
In conclusion, the Association remains committed to providing the best quality of service to the people in the state, but also need the people to impress upon the government to provide an enabling environment by promptly addressing the highlighted problems.
Long live OSAMDO
Long live NMA Osun branch
Long live Osun State
Dr. Oloyede Subair -Chairman.
Dr. Olawale Fatai Dauda -General Secretary
Dr. Olufemi Oroge- Publicity Secretary
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)