Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Abia State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has petitioned the Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti, raising alarm over alleged looting at the Aba General Hospital.
NMA, which raised the alarm when its leadership visited Otti in his Nvosi country home, urged him to take immediate steps to halt the sad development.
The medical doctors in a petition jointly signed by the NMA Chairman, Dr Isaiah Abali; and Secretary, Dr Daniel Ekeleme, also urged Otti to ensure that he restores the hospital to its once envious status as the foremost health facility in Abia State.
“This is a hospital that predates most of the doctors in Abia State and a centre that has contributed tremendously to the health care of the Abia inhabitants and its environs. We urge your incoming government to do your best in the restoration of this once great facility.”
NMA further pleaded with the governor-elect to rescue the doctors in the state who were facing economic hardship following years of salary arrears.
The doctors decried the condition of their colleagues working with the Abia State Teaching Hospital and those working under the Health Management Board, who are owed many months of salary arrears.
NMA further sought the cooperation of the incoming government to send a Bill to the State House of Assembly, making it mandatory for tricycle riders and all market stall owners to pay a statutory health insurance fee.
“Such fees would cover the enrollee and some members of his family for a year, depending on the plan, and grant them access to good medicare from recognised health facilities in Abia State. This would not only reduce the morbidity and mortality rates in the state, but would also go a long way in curbing quackery.”
NMA said that majority of Abia people were happy with Otti’s emergence as governor-elect, and prayed that God would give him “the grace and wisdom to save and reposition the moribund Abia health sector.”
Responding, Otti thanked the doctors for their visit and sympathised with them on the hardship they had been made to go through by the current government.
Otti restated his promise to pay all verifiable outstanding salaries owed civil servants in the state.
He promised to make Abia the envy of many states.