Despite the coronavirus surge, over one hundred doctors in Akwa Ibom are been owed not less than three months' salaries, allnews authoritatively reports.
According to a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, the medical officers, totaling about 160, were employed last September by the state government.
"As at today, these young doctors have not been captured for March salary. Some of them were posted to interior villages where they have to spend close to N2000 daily for transportation. Yet, the Akwa Ibom State Government has not made provisions for their welfare and salaries.
The plight of these doctors has been made worse with the outbreak of coronavirus - with five cases now officially confirmed in Akwa Ibom State. These doctors have been tasked to be prepared for this global health crisis," He noted that in a statement released on Thursday.
He then urged Governor Udom Emmanuel, the Commissioner for Health, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to urgently look into the plight of these doctors.
"The need to pay these doctors their arrears of salary has become more necessary in view of the coronavirus pandemic; with the attendant pressure on medical practitioners.
This is not the time for politics and sycophantic reactions. This is the for responsible leadership," He added.
Vulnerability Of Medical Workers
Recall that the National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) announced five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on Wednesday
Governor Udom, although earlier contested the verdict of NCDC, later revealed that the confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state are mostly healthcare professionals.
He then declared that the state for 14 days to enable health workers to carry out the contact-tracing successfully.
Last week, a coalition of healthcare professionals in the state expressed dissatisfaction over the health sector preparedness before the eventual coronavirus outbreak in Akwa Ibom.
This was contained in a communiqué signed by the coalition made up of the Akwa Ibom state branches of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN).
The communiqué, which was obtained by allnews, stemmed from a meeting at the Doctors’ Mess, Udo Udoma in Uyo the state capital on Monday.
While the Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, assured that the state has fully-equipped Isolation Centres, the Healthcare Professionals argued that an Isolation Centre for COVID-19 cannot be said to be fully equipped and operational without the availability of ventilators.
“We also demand that the Government immediately equips the Isolation Centres in Infectious Diseases Hospital, Ikot Ekpene and University of Uyo Teaching Hospital with ventilators,” the communiqué read.
The coalition called for financial and material donations from corporate bodies in the state, philanthropists, political leaders, faith-based organizations and well-meaning individuals, to support the State Ministry of Health’s response on COVID-19.
They noted that “these donations apart from cash can be in the form of the much-needed ventilators, hand sanitizers, gloves, face masks, and other PPE [Personal Protective Equipment].”
As at the time of filing this report, Nigeria has recorded 184 COVID-19 cases, two deaths and 20 discharged.