From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of Nigeria, Kaduna state branch, has issued a 21 days ultimatum to the Kaduna State Government to meet all their demands; else they will embark on indefinite strike.
The State President of ARD, Dr Joseph Natsah Jokshan, announced this during a press conference held in Kaduna yesterday
He noted that, “as it stands, the doctor patient ratio of Kaduna State is placed at about a doctor to 4000 persons. The WHO recommends a doctor to population ratio of a doctor to 600 persons.
“We, the doctors employed by the Kaduna State government, unanimously agreed to issue a 21days ultimatum to meet with our demands or face an industrial action by the expiration of the notice. Today marks the end of eight days and now 13 days to go.” they said.
The doctors accused the Governor Nasril El-rufai led government of paying deaf ears to their demands by refusing to reply all their correspondence in writing, rather, the government is making verbal promises without cogent documentation.
According to them, Kaduna State is currently facing internal brain drain, as the state employed doctors are seeking greener pastures out the state.
“These indices even become worse as one moves to rural areas. It is therefore requisite that measures should be put in place to correct this. This is evidenced by the long waiting times and long booking times in the hospitals.”
Although he commended the government for it’s effort to recruit about a 100 doctors into the current workforce, he however, said recruiting them does not address the root cause of the of the problem.
“A motivated and educated workforce, coupled with the right infrastructure and
conducive working environment is the necessary combination required to reposition our health care delivery system
“Kaduna State has a high turnover rate for doctors as most Doctors leave to seek employment elsewhere. When the country is experiencing external brain drain, Kaduna state is witnessing an internal brain drain as most doctors leave to other states or federal institutions.
“As it stands, Kaduna State has the lowest remuneration among all other states in the north west zone. Some of our colleagues are owed up to 10 months’ salary, despite showing up every day for work. Others have their arrears unpaid.
“There is also the issue of professional stagnation due to lack of promotions and non-payment of arrears after promotion or advancement.” he added.
Dr. Natsah, explained that, “in 2011, the issue of remuneration was brought to the Late Governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and he approved and partially implemented, promising a complete implementation in the following year.
“However, due to his unfortunate and sad demise, we had to engage this present government from the start. But it is pertinent to note that government is a continuous process, and should be seen as such in all sense.
He said the “demands became imperative since the patience and tolerance of our Doctors and their attempts to get the government to do the needful failed.
“The demands are:
Provision of adequate funding, equipping and staffing of our Hospitals in order to create a conducive working and living environment for the Medical and other health workers as well as our patients.
“Immediate payment of House Officers salaries and arrears as well as putting a mechanism in place to prevent future delays in payment of
House officers’ salaries.
“Immediate and full implementation of the corrected Consolidated
Medical Salary Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the only recognised salary structure for doctors nationwide, as well as
appropriate placement of medicals officers in their appropriate grade
“Immediate implementation of already approved funding for residency training of Kaduna State Doctors on Supernumerary training.”
He vowed that “this is a struggle we intend to see through to the end. Not because we are ingrates, inconsiderate or in-human to the plight of the public, but because, just like every other person in this room, we are first humans tasked with a responsibility to care of the lives of the people of Kaduna State through effective and efficient health care delivery, high ethical standard and in the interest of our members.
“Unfortunately, we cannot effectively carry out these tasks in the current sorry state of our health care facilities.
He pledged the association’s readiness to always work with the state government to effectively achieve its sustainable health care
objectives in the interest of development and gratification of the distinguished