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Japa: Abia govt plans enhanced welfare package for health workers

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In a bid to curb the migration of health professionals to foreign countries for better opportunities, the Abia State Government has announced plans to introduce an enhanced welfare package for medical personnel employed in the state from 2024.

The Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti made this disclosure during the first-ever Abia State Council on Health held at the Ochendo International Conference Centre Umuahia on Wednesday.

The governor expressed his commitment to rejuvenating and revolutionizing the state’s health sector, which he found in a deplorable condition upon assuming office.

He emphasized the importance of prioritizing the health sector and allocated 15% of the 2024 budget proposal to it.

Addressing the issue of health professionals migrating abroad, the governor noted with concern the impact it could have on the health sector and vowed to take actions to reposition healthcare in the state.

He assured health workers of a better welfare package starting from 2024 and promised prompt payment of salaries.

Otti highlighted steps his administration had taken, including clearing the backlog of salary arrears for doctors to prevent strikes and save the health sector from collapse.

He also expressed satisfaction that the medical college of Abia State University had regained accreditation from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

Additionally, the Governor revealed ongoing efforts to recruit skilled attendants for the deaf and introduce an insurance scheme to reduce the financial burden of out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, emphasized the theme of the Council, “Providing Accessible, Affordable, and Quality Healthcare System for the New Abia.”

She outlined plans to strengthen the Primary Health Care System, establish functional Primary Health Care Centers in each Local Government, and renovate and inaugurate General hospitals in the state.

The World Health Organization Country Representative, Walter Kazadi Mulombo, commended the Abia State Government for its commitment to improving access to healthcare services.

He pledged WHO’s continued partnership and assistance in enhancing healthcare delivery and disease eradication in the state.

Former Director of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ngozi Azodo, delivered a keynote speech, describing the Council meeting as a significant milestone for Abia’s healthcare delivery.

She raised concerns about the migration of health personnel and urged governments to invest more in the health sector for the benefit of citizens, especially the poor.

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