Umuahia — Abia State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has embarked on a three-day warning strike with effect from Thursday, February 14.NMA, in a statement yesterday, noted that the warning strike became inevitable as the state government refused to pay the 11 months salaries owed doctors at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) and eight months arrears at State Hospitals Management Board (SHMB).
The statement signed by the chairperson, Mrs. Carol Iwuoha, and the secretary, Mr. Joachim Umenwa, explained that "the warning strike involves withdrawal of services of all doctors in government-owned health institutions in Abia, including the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia."
The association, however, sympathised with members of the public on the effect of the strike, stating that it was in this consideration that emergency services would be rendered at FMC, Umuahia.
NMA expressed disappointment that despite several engagements and notices to the state government, all promises failed to materialise and thus brought untold hardship on its members.
According to the statement, the last salary received by ABSUTH doctors was in February 2018, while that of HMB was in May 2018. "The association had conceded to be paid in instalments, as the state government, in the course of dialogue, had said it would be unable to pay all at once.
"In the last seven days notice sent to the government on February 6, 2019, the association was willing to accept an initial payment of six months arrears for ABSUTH doctors and for months for HMB with a documented plan to pay the outstanding."The association called on well-meaning members of the public to appeal to the government of Abia to address the plight of its members which, it stated, has far-reaching implications on healthcare delivery, medical research and training in the state.