John ODHE, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa state government has urged resident doctors in the state not to embark on their planned industrial action as it is doing everything possible to address their grievances.
A statement by the Media Adviser to the deputy governor, Mr Doubra Atasi indicated that the state governor, Douye Diri made the plea on Tuesday during a meeting between the state government and representatives of the National Association of Resident Doctors and the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Government House, Yenagoa.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor maintained that his administration was already addressing two out of the three major demands of the association.
Emphasizing the need to shelve the strike action, Diri equally noted that the state is experiencing a major health crisis following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which had ravaged tens of thousands of lives in the country.
His words: “We are aware of your working conditions which have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Health facilities are overstretched in the country and so this is not the right time to go on strike.
“But let me assure you that two of the three hot issues you have raised in this meeting are already being tackled by the present administration because of the premium we place on our health sector.
“Like you rightly pointed out earlier, these issues have been lingering before the present administration came in. But we are making frantic efforts to address most of the issues.
Earlier in their separate remarks, the President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), Okolobiri, Dr Oru Inetsol, and his predecessor, Dr Tuko Evans identified the disparity in earnings between doctors working in federal and state-owned health institutions due to improper placement in terms of salary scale.