The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has condemned the government of Abia State for not paying doctors and other health workers their salaries and allowances for 24 months now.
The association gave the condemnation yesterday at a press conference after the closure of its 2022 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Gombe International Hotel in Gombe State.
National President of the association, Dr. Uche Roland Ojinmah, who addressed the press conference, said they were disappointed over the failure of the government of Abia State to pay their members’ salaries and allowances in the state, pointing out that doctors are essential workers in the society who should be motivated to work.
Ojinmah also lamented the poor salaries received by health workers nationwide, claiming that the last time their salaries were reviewed was in 2009.
According to him, as a result of the poor remunerations, many doctors have left Nigeria to other countries, thereby causing shortage of manpower in the health facilities in Nigeria.
Apart from that, he decried the lack of working equipment, conducive environment and inadequate doctors in the country, pointing out that they are overstretched.
He said: “Health workers are already being overstretched with serious distortion in the already worst doctor-patient ratio of one doctor per 5, 000 patients in Nigeria as against the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of one doctor per 600 patients. The shortage of doctors is currently driving the epidemic of physicians’ burnout in Nigeria.
“The NEC also noted the negative effects of physicians’ burnout in all aspects of medical care including lower patients satisfaction and care quality. We expressed dismay for the government’s inability to address the push factors driving the brain drain which are mass exodus of doctors and other health workers in search of greener pastures.
“NEC reiterates that unless something drastic is done by the government to address the problem of brain drain, the already worst health indices may eventually spiral out of control.
“It should also be noted that the rapid population growth and resulting encroachment into wilderness by humans, globalisation, extensive resistance to drugs by microorganisms and climate change are the key factors responsible for emerging and re-emerging of diseases outbreak.”