By Steve Unegbu
The Abia state government is losing huge revenue as a result of the challenges of poor funding ,non payment of salaries of medical doctors and other health workers in the state .
This was the unanimous lamentation and disposition of the Abia Medical stakeholders ,during the stakeholders meeting of Nigerian Medical Association ,held in Umuahia.
According to them , ” when workers are on strike, they will not work and government will be losing money, when workers are on strike, the people of Abia and the residents of Abia suffer ,most of them die of curable diseases, because the hospitals are shut down and many of the workforce in these hospitals are leaving Abia state to other States “
In his submission the Abia state chairman Medical and dental Council of Nigeria ,Dr Eziri urged that , ” we need to engage the state at the highest level ,who are the owners of these institutions “
In his submission ,the chairman NAGGMDP Abia state ,Dr Okwu Obinna ,called on the State government to revalidate the health care delivery system in Abia by increasing the remuneration of workers ,adding that they are being relegated .
The immediate past chairman NMA Abia state, Dr Carol Iwuoha cried out in her presentation that ” the limitations in these hospitals have affected the work in the health system, it makes patients to lose confidence in the health system and if you do not pay workers ,you can not drive the system ” she said
In his own presentation , the Dean school of medicine ABSU , Professor Kamanu ,pointed out that , ” The non payment of salaries has affected the teaching hospital ,Abia state is being robbed off her workforce .There is need for sincerity on the part of the government ,people are suffering and dying because these institutions are not working” And for the CMD ABSUTH ,Dr Offiah , ” There should be regular and proper remuneration and the NMA should create opportunity for regular meeting with the State chief Executive “
In her presentation, the chief Executive chairman ,Abia Hospitals Management, Dr Ijeoma Nduka ,said that ,” We are owed 16 months salary and even when we are paid sometimes ,many people are short paid .I have pleaded with the Commissioner for finance for audience, but he has not obliged ,we are also understaffed , I am the only consultant in the whole of Hospitals management Board ” she noted .
In his presentation, the Medical Director ,FMC Umuahia ,Dr Onyebuchi Azubuike ,urged the NMA to find out the position of the State chief Executive on these limitations in the health care delivery in Abia state, ” we need to know the stand of the State government on these issues “
In his presentation, the personal physician to the Governor, Dr Enyinnaya,pointed out that ” I believe that doctors and health workers should be paid, I think government believe that there is over -staffing in these institutions, I also hear of the level of diversion of patients from these government institutions to private hospitals and the issue of redundancy too ,I do not know how true these rumors are “
In his own part , the House Committee chairman on Health, Hon. Stanley Nwabisi ,urged that ,” we need to rise to the occasion to begin to press on the government to prioritize ABSUTH , I want to encourage NMA to seek audience with the Governor, so that these lapses should be corrected .I urge NMA to use political will ,for us in the Abia House of Assembly, we will continue to do our best .I can assure you that this present House of Assembly members will continue to do every thing possible to help NMA address these challenges “
Interacting with Newsmen shortly after the stakeholders meeting, the Chairman NMA Abia state, Dr Chimezie Okwuonu ,disclosed that the essence of the meeting is to address the immediate and remote causes of the challenges in health care delivery in Abia state.
According to him , ” All the primary health centers ,secondary health centers and the only teaching hospital we have in Abia ,which is the Abia state teaching hospital are non -functional ,as we speak ,no service is going on in any of the places ,the reason is because of the on going strike .In a state with the kind of population we have, it is difficult to believe that we have come to impasse ,whereby health care delivery can only be championed by private institutions and FMC Umuahia.We called this meeting in order to brainstorm on how to collaborate with the government to ensure effective health care delivery in the state “
Dr Okwuonu ,pointed out that the issue of the teaching hospital and other hospitals have lingered over two or more administrations, adding that currently the ABSUTH staff are owed 18 months salary arrears and those in HMB are owed 15 months ,these are not caused by the current government.
He emphasized the need for the government to take full responsibility of these institutions,saying that the government is losing, people are not working and you still pay them at the end of the month .
In his words, ” The truth is that the government is losing ,when people are not working and you still pay them at the end of the month .There is no how our health care system can not contribute to IGR of the State ,but we need to invest on them ,Government should take full responsibility of these institutions in the state “
Speaking further, on the way forward , he pointed out that ,” we have been able to set up an 8- man solidly powered committee ,which will collaborate with the government to work out modalities for settling these problems we are facing in health care delivery in the state” adding that ,” we need to develop a template to assist the government “