Beginning from 12 midnight on Tuesday, June 30, doctors in Ekiti State under the aegis of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) withdrew their services from the public hospitals with the exception of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH).
The affected hospitals are the state’s 19 general hospitals, three specialist hospitals and more than 100 healthcare centres scattered across the 16 local government areas.
The medical practitioners accused the government of neglecting the health sector, acute shortage of manpower, unpaid arrears of three-month-salaries, backlog of unpaid allowances, non-implementation of agreements on hazard allowances, poor working tools, among numerous others.
In a letter addressed to the governor by the doctors’ association, a copy of which PREMIUM TIMES exclusively obtained, the government was accused of “encouraging a massive exodus of healthcare workers from the state by making the working environment hostile to them”.
The letter, which was dated May 29, and signed by the association’s chairman and secretary, Adeniyi Sunday and Adeleye Crave respectively, said “merely 65 medical officers and five consultants are working at the 22 secondary healthcare facilities”.
According to the group, between October 2019 when a comprehensive report on the state of the facilities and suggestions on the way forward was presented to Governor Kayode Fayemi, and May 29 when a 21-day ultimatum was issued to the state, 24 medical doctors including 11 consultants have left the state’s service.
The association’s letter reads in part; “Your Excellency Sir, our members feel neglected and marginalised but despite this we continue holding forte at the forefront of COVID-19 and other diseases at the state isolation centre, general hospitals, state specialist hospitals and all the primary healthcare facilities across the state. We are the same set of doctors to see the patients first even at the early stage before they are referred to the isolation and while in the isolation, our members continue to provide seamless clinical services.
“Your excellency Sir, the inability of the state government to address these issues we have raised at different fora is the main reason why all effort to employ more doctors into the health service of Ekiti State under the hospitals’ management board has repeatedly suffered a lot of setbacks.
“As recently as seven months ago before we wrote our last letter and position paper on achieving the fourth point of the four-point agenda of this government, there were 96 doctors at the hospitals’ management board including not less than 16 consultants. It is disheartening to know that as at today, the HMB is left with just five consultants and less than 67 medical officers to man our three specialist hospitals and 19 general hospitals. It will shock you to know that Ekiti East Local Government has just one doctor. Many of our general hospitals have only one doctor providing care to a whole community such as Omuo, Ilawe, And Ilupeju-Itapa, just to mention a few.”