Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kogi chapter, has rejected the proposed percentage salary payment to its members by the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
In a statement by Dr Kabiru Zubair, the NMA Chairman in Kogi, on Sunday in Lokoja, said the NMA strongly rejected any salary cut for doctors and other health care workers (HCWs) in the state.
The part of the statement read in part, ”The attention of th NMA Kogi State Chapter has been drawn by her affiliate bodies in the State to the proposed wage cut by the Kogi State Government(KSG).
”The NMA is not unaware of the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 and the consequent economic down turn. But, the NMA strongly reject any salary cut for doctors and other health care workers (HCWs).
”This is because doctors in Kogi state have just been getting along on half salary before now occasioned by the non implementation of corrected CONMESS (Consolidated Medical Salary Structure), the new minimum wage of N30,000:00 and it’s consequential adjustment, skipping and relativity, promotion and annual step increment.
”Hence, the average doctor working with the Kogi Civil Service is already at a serious financial disadvantage compared to his or her counterpart working with the Federal Civil Service or other states in the Federation where these salary adjustment have been implemented,” he said.
Zubair stressed that any further cut on the salaries of doctors and other HCWs in the state would further impoverish them, and would certainly accelerate the exodus of doctors from the state civil service.
He added that doctors and other HCWs remained the footsoldiers at the forefront of the fight against the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 and were being appreciated across to globe.
The chairman noted that the Federal Government had recently increased the hazard allowance of all HCWs from the paltry N5000 monthly to 50% of their consolidated basic salary in order to encourage and retain them to do more for the nation, saying it was commendable.
”The NMA expected Kogi State Government to take similar step to encourage and retain her HCWs at this time and not to cut wages.
”This is not the time to start loosing doctors and other HCWs due to salary matters as we are in the middle of a healthcare war that we do not know when it will end,” Zubair said.
He further drew the attention of Kogi Government on emerging challenges with respect to patients management in hospitals due to ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, as community transmission of the disease escalate in Nigeria.
”Report coming from our affiliate bodies in various hospitals has shown that it is becoming difficult to manage patients with other clinical conditions without first excluding COVID-19, especially those patients coming from high risk states in the Federation and FCT, such as Lagos, Kano, and Abuja.
”It is no longer news that over 100 HCWs have been infected by this virus and some have paid the supreme price.
”As a result of this, most hospitals are on red alert and consider all patients as potential carrier of the coronvirus that causes COVID-19.
”Because of this high level of suspicions, doctors prefers to rule out COVID-19 in patients they considered as high risk before proceeding to manage them for their clinical conditions.
”The inability of the state to test or follow laid down protocols in order to exclude COVID-19 may lead to needless death of patients presenting with other clinical conditions due to neglect by HCWs.
”It should be noted, that if doctors should attend to one unknown case of COVID-19 in the hospital settings, it may spread to many HCWs and their families.
”Furthermore, hospital wards and units may be shutdown for fumigation due to contamination by the virus and becomes unavailable for patients care.
”The NMA is hereby calling on the state government to open the channel for testing to mitigate this unhealthy development.
”Finally, the NMA is calling on all HCWs to be on their guard and to resist any attempt to attend to patients without observing all the necessary precautio