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Kwara Doctors Begin Strike, Demand Improved Welfare As Gov’t Calls For Suspension

 

The medical doctors under the auspices of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP), Kwara State branch said the strike action became imperative due to the insensitivity of the government to plights of their members.

Speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, Chairman of Kwara State doctors, Dr. Saka Ismail Agboola, said the association had no choice than to embark on the warning strike, beginning from today, after several extensions of ultimatum, the last which elapsed yesterday.

It was gathered that the doctors under the employment roll of Kwara State government had last three weeks issued their final warning.

Chairman of the Association, Dr. Agboola said, in the previous ultimatum, “earlier, there was a 21-day ultimatum given. The ultimatum expired recently. And a congress was held.

“Arising from the congress, we want to announce to you that the congress has decided to extend our ultimatum by eight weeks to end on November 1, 2021.

“Our decision to extend the ultimatum by eight weeks is borne out of empathy for the general public. We do not want to cause more harm to our people. Also government has shown commitment and serious concern to some of our demands.

This government has invested so much on health in terms of renovation of dilapidated infrastructure, building of new ones and supply of modern equipment.

“We believe with all these structures, if the drivers of the structures especially are not well remunerated and well-motivated, they may be tempted to migrate to other states.

Meanwhile, the Kwara State Ministry of Health has expressed dismayed over the decision of the kwara state doctors to go on strike.

This was contained in a statement signed and made available to newsmen by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Abubakar O. Ayinla urged the doctors to hold their warning strike despite the unprecedented commitments of the government to their welfare.

The statement added that it is the right of labour unions to press for the right and welfare of their members, it is important to state that this administration has done so well for the health sector and it is prepared to do a lot more within available resources.

“It is important to observe also that the government has met all their demands while salary adjustment was put at 70%. This was done in good faith and in recognition of the primacy of the health of our people.

“Notwithstanding the strike, Government remains committed to the agreements already reached in the unprecedented marathon meeting personally chaired by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for much of Sunday, October 31, 2021.

However, “we appeal to the doctors to look at the bigger picture and the financial standing of Kwara State, which is at the bottom of federal revenue allocation table. It is also important to reflect on where we are coming from and the progress so far made in not just the health sector but in other areas.

“Every segment of the state workforce is important, and government is equally working to improve the welfare of the entire public labour community in line with the ethos of the administration.

“We urge our medical doctors to consider immediate suspension of the action while government implements the 70% proposal that its finances can struggle with at this time. Suspension of the action will reaffirm the time-honoured belief of health workers in the sanctity of human life and stability of the public health system.

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Written by Issa Saliu

I am a journalist based in Ilorin

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