Members of the Kogi State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have vowed not to accept the proposed cutting of salaries of its members and other healthcare workers by the Kogi Government.
A statement by the Chairman of the NMA in the state, Dr Kabiru Zubair, in Lokoja on Sunday, said the attention of the NMA had been drawn to the proposed wage cut by the government.
”The NMA is not unaware of the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 and the consequent economic downturn. But, the NMA strongly rejects any salary cut for doctors and other health care workers.
”This is because doctors in Kogi State have been getting along on half salary before now, occasioned by the non-implementation of corrected CONMESS -Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.
”Non-implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 and its consequential adjustment, skipping, relativity, promotion and annual step increment.
”The average doctor working with the Kogi State Civil Service is already at a serious financial disadvantage, compared to their counterparts at federal or other states in the federation where salary adjustments have been implemented.”
Zubair stressed that any further cuts of the salaries of doctors and other worker in the state would impoverish them, and accelerate the exodus of doctors from the state’s civil service.
He noted that doctors and other health workers remained foot-soldiers at the fore-front of the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and were being appreciated across the globe.
The chairman noted that the Federal Government had recently increased hazard allowances of health workers from the paltry monthly N5, 000 by 50 per cent, to encourage and retain them to do more for the nation.
”NMA expects Kogi State Government to take similar steps to encourage and retain its health care workers at this time and not to cut wages.
”This is not the time to start losing doctors and other workers, due to salary matters as we are in the middle of a healthcare war that we do not know when it will end.”
He drew the attention of the government to emerging challenges, regarding patients’ management in hospitals as coronavirus community transmission increases.
According to him, feedbacks from NMA members in various hospitals reveal that it is becoming difficult to manage patients with other clinical conditions without first excluding COVID-19 patients coming from high-risk states such as Lagos, Kano and the FCT.
”It is no longer news that over 100 health workers have been infected by this virus and some have paid the supreme price. Hence, most hospitals are on red alert and consider all patients as potential carriers of COVID-19.
”Because of this high level of suspicions, doctors prefer to detect COVID-19 in patients 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 patient may lead to needless death of patients presenting other clinical conditions, due to neglect by health workers.
”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 health workers and their families.”
Zubair advised the government to open channels for testing, to mitigate escalation of COVID-19, advising health workers to be on guard and resist any attempt to attend to patients without observing necessary precautions.