There is palpable fear in Anambra State, following plans by medical consultants at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH) to proceed on an indefinite industrial action on Tuesday over poor remuneration.
The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria MDCAN, has consequently given the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano up to Tuesday to address the situation or face the consequences.
The doctors want the state government to keep them at par with their colleagues in other states, stating that what they receive as salary in Anambra is ridiculous.
Addressing reporters yesterday at the hospital’s auditorium, the Chairman of MDCAN, Dr Chukwudi Okani, said, they suspended their last strike on July 8, based on the promise of the state government
He said their poor remuneration had become unbearable to them, adding that the committee set up by the governor on the issue had failed to live up to its obligations.
Okani, said if at the end of Tuesday the state government fails to address their plight, they would have no other option than to proceed on indefinite industrial action.
Also, speaking, the immediate past chairman of the association, Dr Amechi Nwachukwu, said they decided to raise the alarm because when the time comes, many people are likely to die and patients would suffer.
“The governor was so decisive in ending the last strike of which he set up a committee, but four months after, the committee has not submitted the template.
“We are raising the alarm for Obiano to intervene. We don’t want patients to die needlessly. We are not asking for increment but to keep us at par with our colleagues in other states. What we receive in Anambra is too poor “he said.
The doctors’ threat has however been described as unnecessary by the Obiano led government.
The state government urged the doctors to allow the process already started to resolve the crisis to come to a logical conclusion.
The reaction of the government was contained in a statement made available to reporters on Friday in Awka, by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. Don Adinuba.
According to Adinuba, “the committee was scheduled to hold its final meeting, before sending its report to the governor for consideration.
“Officers of the doctors were informed accordingly. It is, therefore, surprising that while the meeting was going on, the association’s officials decided to hold a press conference in Awka where they threatened to go on a one-week warning strike if their demands were not met immediately”
“Most members of the public are convinced that the press conference was a mere attempt to stampede the committee to accept uncritically its demands and recommend them to the governor for immediate implementation.
“Neither the news conference nor the threat was necessary. Both the government and the doctors are basically on the same page.”