Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Chancellor of Gregory University Uturu and Abia State governorship flag bearer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Prof Greg Ibe, has said that any Government that fails to regularly pay health workers is toying with the lives of it citizens.
The governorship hopeful who said this at the commencement of his free medical/surgical outreach at Ohafia, expressed worry over the collapsing health sector in the state.
He noted that no responsible government should joke with the critical sector to avoid the miserable consequences of collapse of the sector.
Professor Ibe who was represented by his running mate, and member representing Aba South state constituency, Hon. Obinna Ichita, regretted that under the watch of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Abia health sector had witnessed “continued dilapidation.”
Ibe said that the continued strike action by medical doctors at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, ABSUTH, Aba following over 25 months of salary arrears, was taking a toll on the health care delivery system of the state.
He pleaded with the Government to as a matter of urgency take steps to end the stand off with the doctors in the interest of the masses.
“We’re also living witnesses that the government is owing the health workers several months of salary arrears even as the dilapidated health centres are nothing to write home about in every aspect,” he said.
He also lamented the continued exodus of medical doctors from the state due to poor welfare.
The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, had raised alarm that two to three medical doctors leave Abia State for greener pastures abroad every month.
Ibe who said his motive to take the free medical surgical outreach across all three senatorial zones and local government areas in the state was to bring quality health care to Abians irrespective of their party affiliations.
He said that the gesture had nothing to do with his political ambition as he had been into humanitarian services through his Foundation which he floated way back in 1991.
Professor Ibe, however, promised to revamp and reposition the Abia health and other critical sectors for the benefit of all if given the opportunity to govern in 2023.
Head of the 50-member medical team comprising 10 doctors in different areas of specialisation, nurses and pharmacists, Dr Ojum Ogwo, said 20,000 patients were targeted in the outreach that would go round every LGA in the state.
He restated the commitment of the team in tackle every health challenge presented in the course of the outreach.
Later in an interview some of the beneficiaries, Kalu Paul, 50, and an accident victim; Ijeoma Uduma, 54, farmer; and Elder Eke Awa, 74, retired civil servant; poured encomiums on Ibe for the gesture.
The free medical outreach which began in Umuahia last week is to go round all the LGAs in the state, according to the Gregory Ibe Foundation.