The Association of Residents Doctors, Kaduna State Chapter has warned to embark on indefinite strike action in 13 days’ time if the State Government failed to meet its demand.
President of the Association, Dr Joseph Natsah-Jokshan who gave the warning during a press briefing in Kaduna Tuesday added that the Association had on 9th this month gave the state government a 21-day ultimatum having failed to implement 2011 agreement with the Association.
According to him, the demands are provision of adequate funding, equipping and staffing of Hospitals, payment of House Officers’ salaries arrears and implementation of approved funding for residency training of Kaduna State Doctors on Supernumerary training.
Others include full implementation of the corrected Consolidated Medical Salary Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as well as appropriate placement of medicals officers in their appropriate grade level.
Dr. Natsah-Jokshan informed that the ultimatum was transmitted to the state government following the outcome of emergency congress on Sept. 9, 2017.
“We, the doctors employed by the Kaduna State government, therefore, unanimously agreed to issue a 21days ultimatum to meet with our demands or face an industrial action by the expiration of the notice.
“This became necessary due to failure of the government, despite adequate engagement, to live up to its end of the bargain. Today marks the end of eight days and now 13 days to go.
The Association President said the press conference became necessary to intimate the public and also serve as a reminder to the State Government should the demands are not met.
He said the Association needed a motivated and educated workforce, coupled with the right infrastructure and conducive working environment is the necessary combination required to re-position our health care delivery system.
Dr. Natsah-Jokshan pointed out that the World Health Organization recommends a population ratio of a doctor to 600 persons, adding that the doctor and patient ratio of Kaduna State was a doctor to about 4000 patients.
“The situation is even worse as one move to rural areas. It is therefore requisite that measures should be put in place to correct this.
“We are aware of governments’ efforts to recruit about 100 doctors into the current workforce and that is highly commendable. But infrastructure and doctors welfare must also be address.
“Currently, Kaduna State has the lowest remuneration among other states in the North West zone and in spite of this some of our colleagues are owed up to 10 months’ salary.
“As a result many doctors have left to other state with better prospect, which further compounded the issues, particularly in rural areas where most of the General Hospitals have only two doctors.
“This has resulted in a lot of quackery, as most are forced to seek medical care elsewhere, with detrimental outcomes and needless loss of lives, “he said.
On the issue of Infrastructure, he said that the State Government doesn’t have a single Intensive care unit in any of its hospitals.
He added that the services at the accident and emergency units are abysmal due to lack of necessary tools as even oxygen was hard to come by.
“Our struggle was because we have a responsibility to care for the lives of people, but we can only achieve that with effective and efficient health care delivery system.