THE Imo State Branch of Nigeria Medical Association has threatened to embark on an indefinite strike if the state government fails to meet their demands.
The state branch of the NMA had earlier demanded the immediate payment of eight-month salary arrears of doctors and health workers, payment of corrected CONMESS and the expansion of facilities at the Imo State University Teaching Hospital, general hospitals and health centres.
It also demanded for the immediate lifting of the ban on promotion of doctors and other health workers.
Other demands made by the association were the immediate reversal of the process of handing over public health institutions to private individuals and genuine commitment by the Owelle Rochas Okorocha-led state government to health institutions.
Speaking at a press conference, the state NMA Chairman, Dr. Hyacinth Emele, said several presentations and meetings by the professional body to the government and over the demands were met with rebuffs.
Emele also stated that all NMA members, who supported what he called ill-conceived plans for the concession of state government-owned hospitals, would face disciplinary measures.
He warned the state government to stop forthwith its attempts to hand over government-owned public health institutions in the state.
He condemned the concession policy of Okorocha’s administration, citing the concession of the Imo State Specialist Hospital to his former adviser.
Emele said, “NMA, Imo State, wonders why government has again chosen to put Imolites, especially the poor through a path that has been tried in the recent past without success.
“If the state government hands off its responsibilities on issues as burdensome as health where it is needed most, one wonders what other use a government will serve for the people.”
He expressed worry over the suspension of admission of medical students for the next three years by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria into IMSUTH, Orlu, saying it would not produce medical doctors for three consecutive years.
He said, “It is sad and painful that when we are supposed to be talking of expanding our facilities so as to admit more of our children into medical school, we are at the verge of losing the existing one.”
Emele, however, lamented that in spite of the bailout fund by the Federal Government, the state government had been owing doctors and other health workers upward of eight-month salary arrears.
“This is inhuman and should be condemned by all and sundry. Check out the draconian threat of salary cut of health workers by the state government against the fixed and circularized salary, structure. This is robbery that is condemnable and must be resisted,” he said.