Doctors in public and private facilities in Abia State threaten strike action; to shut down health system over unpaid salaries.
Their umbrella union, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), today issued a 21-day ultimatum for government to clear the arrears.
NMA promised to suspend services in the state if Gov Okezie Ikpeazu fails to pay the doctors within the period.
The doctors released to the press a copy of the letter addressed to the Governor on the subject.
In it, NMA informed the Governor that the unpaid arrears ran from 12 to 24 months in some cases.
“Doctors working in Health Management Board (HMB) are owed 12 months salary arrears. Resident Doctors in ABSUTH are owed 20 months and other cadre of Doctors in ABSUTH 24 months,” it said.
NMA Abia State Chairman, Dr Isaiah Abali, and Secretary, Dr Daniel Ekeleme, jointly signed the letter.
“If ABSG fails to clear the said arrears at the expiration of the 21 days, all doctors in Federal, State and Private employ in the state will embark on a total and indefinite strike.”
NMA therefore urged the governor to avoid “a total collapse of the entire health institution in the state.”
The national leadership of NMA approved the 21-day ultimatum at its August 2022 Executive Meeting in Gombe State, they said .
NMA promised to call out doctors in State, Federal and Private employment in Abia on a “total and indefinite strike.”
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, disclosed in August that Abia owes judges and doctors over 18 and 12 months salaries respectively.
“Doctors have not been paid for more than 12 months. That is the reality, and schools are closed,” Wabba said.
The doctors suspended their strike earlier in this year when government paid part of the arrears for ABSUTH and HMB.
The State NMA confirmed in October that the Governor cleared 7-month arreas for doctors at ABSUTH.
However, it said government still owes Resident Doctors arrears of 18 months, 22 months to other doctors in ABSUTH, and 13 months to Health Management Board (HMB) doctors.
“We thank you for coming to the aid of Resident Doctors but we appeal for a more positive response to assuage the sufferings of Abia doctors.”
Abia doctors threaten strike over salary arrears