Tuesday, May 9, 2017 6:11 am
Mrs. Kehinde Lawal, Kogi’s acting Head of Service (HOS), on Monday advised the state’s striking medical doctors against placing monetary gains over service to humanity.
“Your calling is to save lives; monetary gains should be secondary,” Lawal said at a meeting with the health workers’ union and the management of the Kogi State Specialist Hospital, in Lokoja.
She said that government had an excellent package for health workers in the state, but stressed the need to place effective service delivery above other considerations.
Lawal urged the union leaders to always channel their requests through her office for prompt action, “instead of embarking on strike”.
She appealed to the doctors to go back to work, promising that government would clear the backlog of salaries owed them “very soon”.
“Most of the issues you are agitating for have been approved by the governor, but you need to exercise patience and avoid politicizing your demands, ” she said.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna, represented by the acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Celestine Ejeh, appealed to doctors to call off their strike so as to prevent further loss of lives.
“We are only appealing to you to appreciate the fact that your profession is for service to humanity. We know that the government is owing you, but whatever you are being owed will surely be paid,” Ejeh said.
Responding, Dr. Kolade Gbenga, the representative of the hospital’s chapter of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Professional Unions and Associations, urged the state government to pay health workers already cleared by the Appeal Committee of the verification exercise.
Gbenga noted: “we have been very loyal to this administration and have not embarked on strike unlike the tertiary institutions that have been on strike for six months.”
He said that the health workers’ unions had given government till May 19, to resolve all issues regarding their demands so as to forestall “an impending danger in the health sector”.
Dr. Abdulrahman Jafar, President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Specialist Hospital chapter, urged the government to pay up salaries and reinstate doctors employed in 2015, that had been disengaged.
Jafar pointed out that their members employed in 2015 went through the right process of employment and were not beneficiaries of ‘political employment’ as claimed by the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the acting HOS later went round hospitals and clinics in Lokoja, on an inspection tour of health facilities and to monitor the level of compliance with the duty registers.
She told NAN that the doctors were yet to comply with the directive to resume work and register their names in the duty book so as to avoid the consequences of being absent from duty.
“But, I believe that they will do so from Tuesday. May 9,” she said.