Medical doctors in Edo have declared a five-day warning strike to press home their demands for better working conditions and human capacity development, among other demands.
The state Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Emmanuel Osaigbovo, told newsmen after an emergency meeting in Benin that doctors in federal and local government institutions in the state would be part of the strike.
Osaigbovo said that the action indicated that health services would be paralysed in the state from Wednesday.
He explained that for more than a year, the association had been talking with the Edo Government without positive outcomes.
“The Edo doctors have been highly marginalised, their welfare has been relegated to the background.
“We have given ultimatums and then later shelved them due to intervention by well-meaning Edo people.
“We are forced today to take a decision we did not want to take.
“We are telling Edo people that we are taking this decision, a hard one because the state government has refused to listen to anybody.
“We are truly sorry for the pains Edo people will pass through,’’ he said.
He noted that state-owned health institutions were in decay and that the state had only 200 doctors on its payroll.
“We want the government to look into all these and others,” he said.
Reacting, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr David Osifo, expressed shock over the planned strike.
“I am surprised about this; they have been part of the committees to get solutions for the health sector.
“The governor even set up a committee to look into their demands and we have been working together.
“The committee on their salaries, which they are part of, has also looked into the salary review and we came up with an additional N30 million for the wage bill for doctors only.
“The governor said we should look into graduating the increment, because incurring additional N30 million monthly would make other sectors to suffer,’’ he said.