The Chairman, National Association of Government General and Medical Dental Practitioners [NAGGMDP] in Ekiti State, Dr Kolawole Adeniyi, has spoken on the dire situation of the health sector in the state.
According to him, doctors in the state sometime do surgeries using flashlights from their mobile phones
WuzupNigeria reports that doctors in the specialist and general hospitals, and PHCs in the state had embarked on a four-week strike to push home certain demands, including welfare, from the government.
And Adeniyi, in a recent interview, explained that in Ekiti, “a doctor is doing the job of seven or eight doctors, working with limited resources and seeing patients under unfavourable conditions”.
“They are the reasons for the ongoing strike embarked on by members of the National Association of Government General and Medical Dental Practitioners in the state since June 29. There are some lapses such as in the areas of work conditions and tools, including lack of personal protective equipment.
“On the issue of manpower, we noticed that what we have on the ground was not adequate for the normal routine of clinical services. Now, we have added the issue of COVID-19 to it. We advised the government; we wrote a report on these issues last October, before the outbreak of COVID-19. We don’t have enough doctors. In this state, specifically at the secondary and primary healthcare units, the figure is very bad. We have less than 78 doctors manning those facilities. Ekiti State has 22 general hospitals and over 100 primary healthcare development centres. There are only seven doctors in the PHCs in the 16 local governments. How will local governments cope without doctors?
“At the secondary healthcare level, where we have 22 secondary healthcare facilities (three specialist hospitals and 19 general hospitals, including the state isolation centre), we have just 71 doctors. Of a fact, those 22 health facilities should have a minimum of 266 doctors, but when you are managing them with 71 doctors, that is far less than one-third of what you need and these doctors are actually doing the job using the small resources on the ground. Most of the time, in some of our centres, we do surgeries using flashlight of our mobile phones.
“In most of these secondary healthcare facilities, the same person is the chief medical doctor, medial advisory committee chairman, surgeon, gynaecologist, paediatrician, general practitioner, emergency unit doctors and administrative officers. For instance, the General Hospital at Ijan Ekiti; it has only one medical doctor.”
Speaking on the implications of the manpower shortage and their demands which necessitated the industrial action, Dr. Adeniyi said:
“The implication of shortage of manpower is that you overwork the doctors and that is what we are out to redress, to ensure that the cause, which is our entitlements and welfare needs being denied us, is addressed and the problem is solved.
“We are saying, if you need me to do the job of eight persons, why can’t you pay me what is due to me as a person? And I will make the sacrifice to work in the capacity of eight persons. Yet, government does not deem it fit to pay the hazard allowance, which is a mere N5,000 (monthly), over a period of 10 years. No doctor in the primary and secondary facility is getting the money. Aside from that, for doctors posted to rural areas, there is a provision for rural allowance (in the appointment letter), but as it is, every health worker in the secondary healthcare facility in Ekiti State gets just 50 per cent of what they ought to be getting. That was done 10 years ago during the first term of Governor Kayode Fayemi; he promised to review it within six months then, but 10 years after, it has remained the same. We are now asking them to review it.
“Then, we are seeking immediate implementation of proper placement for doctors with full CONMESS. Generally, medical doctors are employed from grade level 13, but Ekiti State Hospitals Management Board is still employing doctors on grade level 12 as of today. The situation makes Ekiti State Health Management Board jobs unattractive to the younger generation of doctors as they do not want to come to start on grade level 12 when they can get grade level 13 appointments elsewhere. In Ekiti State, other centres like College of Education Health Centre; Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti; Ekiti State University Health Centre and Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital employ medical officers on grade level 13. Why is it only HMB that employs medical doctors on grade level 12?
“Besides, most of our members have been working for over 10 years and are still on grade level 12. Yet, those that finished housemanship jobs last year and took jobs in EKSUTH and other centres within the state are on grade level 13. Having worked for eight, nine and 10 years, you still remain on the same grade level because what they give you is nominal promotion without any financial backup. Most of us have two to three promotions without financial implication. I know someone who got a job after me in FETHI, who is now on grade level 15. That person is already three steps ahead of me. That is why we are saying government should look into this – if you are giving us promotion, please back it up with the necessary money and step.
“It will interest you to know that one of our members with whom we started this strike has already travelled abroad.”
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