The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Ondo says doctors are willing to negotiate with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s government over unpaid five months’ salaries.
Mr Akeredolu had informed labour leaders that borrowing to augment salary payment was no longer sustainable as a reason for paying medical doctors half salaries to state workers.
Doctors in the state had rejected the government’s position, noting that they could not survive on 50 per cent salary.
Stella Adegbehingbe, the NMA chairman in the state, stated that doctors in state-owned health facilities could no longer accept the non-payment of their salaries, adding that the last time the government paid them was in February.
“As of today (August 2), the last time we received salaries was in February. What doctors are demanding is 100 per cent salary payment. That is the position of doctors in Ondo,” she said.
Asked if there was room for negotiation with the state government, Ms Adegbehingbe said, “There is no problem about negotiation. When they call us, we are ready, anytime.”
Speaking on strike called by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Ms Adegbehingbe stated that there might be no major effect in the state since doctors have been on strike for over a month.
Tope Olagbe, NARD’s chair in the University of Medical Sciences, Teaching Hospital (UNIMEDTH), Ondo, insisted that doctors did not work “on percentage” and should not be paid half salaries.
“Currently, all doctors in Ondo state, those on residency training, and those working in general hospitals and specialist hospitals have been on strike for over a month now,” said Mr Olagbe. “The state government has been paying a percentage of salaries. Doctors are not working on a percentage. Even doctors in the state are inadequate, having one doctor in a situation and place that requires 10 doctors.”
When contacted, the permanent secretary at Ondo State Hospital Management Board, Niran Ikuomola, told NAN to direct its questions to the health ministry.
All efforts to speak with Folukemi Aladenola, the ministry’s permanent secretary, were unsuccessful as she did not respond to telephone calls.