Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Kogi State Specialist Hospital (KSSH), Lokoja, has described the take-home package of doctors in the state-owned tertiary institution as one of the least and poorest in the country, saying they deserved more than.
The President of ARD, KSSH, Dr Emmanuel Bola Kelvin, who disclosed this in a statement in Lokoja on Friday, urged Kogi Government to be fair to doctors in the state-owned hospital, saying ”we are humans too, be fair to us”.
He noted doctors in KSSH were amongst the least and poorly paid among it peers in the federal and most States’ tertiary health institutions in the country
According to Kelvin, KSSH is the only state-owned tertiary hospital in the state capital, Lokoja, strategically located to be the pride of all Kogites, but the poorly motivated workforce is not aiding its full potential.
”This is because doctors in KSSH Lokoja, have just been getting along on half (50%) salary, occasioned by the non-implementation of corrected CONMESS (Consolidated Medical Salary Structure), the new minimum wage and it’s a consequential adjustment, skipping, relativity, promotion and annual step increment.
”In Kogi State as at now, all health care workers are being skipped a grade level (CONHESS 10 which is the direct equivalent of CONMESS 2), the only exception are our members in KSSH Lokoja; this is highly unjust,” Kelvin said.
He added that the non-payment of their outstanding salaries in January 2018, payment of 80% salaries from April 2020 till date and non-review of their hazards allowance as done by the federal government and some states’ tertiary health institutions, had further reduced the take-home to below 50% compared to their contemporaries.
He noted that doctors’ salary (CONMESS) had been reviewed three times since inception nationwide in 2009, 2014 and 2019, stressing that the federal and most states’ tertiary health institutions had implemented the latest 2019 CONMESS Circular.
He, however, stated that in Kogi State specialist hospital the doctors were being paid a percentage of the 2009 CONMESS Circular.
”Hence, the average doctor working at KSSH Lokoja and by extention, the Kogi State Civil Service is already at a serious financial disadvantage compared to their counterparts working with the Federal Civil Service or other states of the federation where these salary adjustments have been implemented.
”The direct implication is an exodus of doctors from the KSSH and the civil service at large. It is more painful to note that, those of us who have shown patriotism and stayed behind are highly unappreciated.
”This is more worrisome when the people we are taking care of do not rise up to protect our welfare as witnessed in other climes.
”It was clear that in April and May 2020, when we were actively working in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, a large percentage of the state civil servants were at home, yet we were not appreciated enough to be paid our full salaries, rather we participated in the percentage salary payment.
”During war, the security sector is prioritized; during famine, the agricultural sector is prioritized, it then baffles us why we were not been prioritized in the midst of a pandemic as being done across to globe!
”While we are not unaware of the economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic, it is our believe that the health sector deserves an utmost attention at this time,” Kelvin stated.
He, however, expressed hope on the fact that the government is currently looking into those issues, while appealing for speedy approval and followed by a quick implementation, to ensure a motivated health sector.
”As at today, 10 doctors have lost their lives to Covid-19 nationwide; this is so pathetic. We do not want to be taken by surprise.
”Hence, we call on the government to ensure a sustained supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to KSSH Lokoja to ensure the protection of our members.
”We also call on the government to speedily ensure life insurance policy are made readily available for health care workers across the state.
”We remain committed to our job, but we will appreciate if we are genuinely loved, supported and positively motivated,” he said.
Kelvin further called on the good people of Kogi to appeal to the State Government to promptly address the issues raised in the interest of the teaming public who seek care at KSSH Lokoja.