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Ondo State Doctors Demand Review of N5,000 Hazard Allowance, Threaten Strike Action

The Ondo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has issued a stern warning, declaring the possibility of an imminent industrial strike if the state government does not uphold its commitment to revise the hazard allowance provided to its medical professionals.

For an extended period, healthcare practitioners in government-owned hospitals in Ondo State have received a mere N5,000 as a hazard allowance. Despite assurances from authorities, the state has failed to augment this allowance.

Speaking at an event commemorating the NMA 2023 Physicians’ Week in Akure on Monday, the Chairman of Ondo NMA, Dr. Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe, expressed the association’s mounting frustrations.

Adeyemi-Osowe emphasised, “Ondo NMA faces several challenges, one of which is the shortage of personnel. We recently heard reports in the media indicating that the state government intends to employ over 1,000 health workers. We are eagerly anticipating the commencement of this recruitment process. Yet another concern is our allowances. We did experience a recent review, and prior to that review, the hazard allowance for doctors remained stagnant at N5,000.”

He went on to reveal that while the Federal Government had conducted a review of this allowance, Ondo State had yet to implement it. Notwithstanding pledges of implementation, the state government had yet to take any action. Adeyemi-Osowe disclosed, “As of last Friday, the government, through the Permanent Secretary in Establishment, assured us that a circular would be issued on or before the end of tomorrow (Tuesday). We await further developments.”

In addition to the persistent hazard allowance issues, Ondo State NMA raised concerns about the “japa” syndrome that has affected the state’s healthcare sector. This phenomenon has witnessed a significant number of healthcare professionals relocating abroad. Adeyemi-Osowe underscored the urgency of improving the welfare of the remaining health workers in the state.

Furthermore, the National President of NMA, Dr. Uche Ojinmah, conveyed a message emphasising the importance of not undermining doctors in Nigeria. He urged adherence to due process in addressing grievances and discharging responsibilities. Any concerns related to the conduct of doctors in Nigeria should be channelled to the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, the body with the statutory responsibility to handle such matters.

Ojinmah expressed his dissatisfaction with the recent media trial of some healthcare workers by the Minister of Women Affairs, emphasising the NMA’s stance on such proceedings.

As the situation unfolds, the prospect of a strike looms large, underscoring the need for swift and concrete actions by the state government to address the concerns of Ondo’s dedicated medical professionals.

 

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