President of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Prof.
Innocent Ujah has revealed that the medical sector has lost up to 30 doctors since the outbreak of coronavirus.
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The President, blamed the government for the lives that have been lost during the pandemic, saying they would have recorded more success if the government had done what they were mandated to do.
He addressed his concern on the fact that neither their death benefits or life insurance has been paid by the government even though they died in the course of rendering their services during the pandemic.
Professor Ujah also confirmed that doctors, especially in the South east have not received their salaries for two years.
He added that doctors would not go on strike, only when is their last resort, and therefore urged the government to be proactive in meeting their needs.
He said: “NMA right from the beginning of the pandemic has been very proactive, through advocacy and consructive engagements, dialogue and conversations.
“As soon as Covid was announced, we put in place mechanism.
We told government what it should do and they would not listen, otherwise, we would not have had the many cases we had.
“In the first four weeks of Covid, if Nigeria had shut her borders, we wouldn’t have had this because it was an imported disease and all we needed to do was close the airlines, airports and land borders and stay for at least four weeks, we would not have suffered this much.
“They demonstrated resilience, commitment and that was why even in the face of inadequacies, we were working and we lost over 20 to 30 doctors to Covid and you know once a life is lost, it is not replaceable.
” He also said.
“The worst thing is that their death insurances have not been paid.
And we think that they should be paid.
“We believe that their deaths benefits and insurances should be paid.
And one way of encouraging the health workers is to motivate them.
“Some of these basic things can be fulfilled.
It is our firm belief that with the right support from the governments, our efforts to provide excellent health services to Nigerians will continue to improve.
“Everything in Nigeria that is bad is endemic.
Poverty is endemic.
Inflation is endemic.
But we are not saying that doctors should go on strike.
“Doctors go on strike only as a last resort.
All we need to talk about is that let us be proactive is responding to the needs of doctors.
“Can you imagine some states owing up to 21 months of salary arrears? Do you expect the doctors in those states to put in the best?
“And most of these arrears are in the South East.
That’s the truth of the matter.
We have statistics for this.
” he concluded.
Oluchi Okwuego/ Vanguard
Covid 19: NMA President laments over loss of doctors