The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has on Thursday commended members of the Association of Local Government Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria, Osun Branch for demonstrating clear understanding of their duties by committing themselves to the service of saving lives.
Aregbesola, while receiving the association, chided the striking doctors, describing the boycott of work as a betrayal of their Hyppocratic Oaths.
Aregbesola said unknown to many Nigerians who listen to the doctors’ tales, the doctors collected six months full salaries without doing any work. He challenge them to tell the world whether they did not collect their salaries up until September when they went on strike.
The Governor lauded the association for their active service and commitment to the generality of the people in the state.
He stated that the local government health workers are not only the bedrock of any state’s healthcare sector but also the proverbial stone rejected by the builder, which however became the corner stone.
He noted that more than 90 per cent of the people pass through the doctors at the local government health care facility thereby relieving the secondary healthcare facilities of meeting the huge task of healthcare needs of millions of people.
He lamented the industrial action embarked upon by the state doctors for more than 11 months, saying but for the active commitment to service by members of the association and other medical personnel, the state’s healthcare system would by now have been compromised.
According to him,”But for your own active commitment to service to the generality of the citizenry, contrary to what we have in some section of the press, Osun does not have any feeling of the strike at all.
“They have been out of work for eleven months and they have refused to tell the world that they have received their full pay for six of the eleven months. They will rather emphasise that we are owing them for the five months since September 28 for which they have not rendered any service to any one.
“We are not here to talk about them but we can not discuss your presence without bringing in our own frustration from their attitude to the profession”.
The Governor noted that medical practitioners are people, who should be imbued with extra milk of compassion and must value live and prevent loss of lives, adding that it was shocking to see those trained to save live abandoning their duty post for humanity to suffer.
He said, “The organ which the doctors are going about what they are doing by making separate demand from government is not a recognised trade union. The secondary organ that is today leading their agitation is a clear professional body which in our constitution lacks all legal rights to negotiate wages and salary with any management.
“Putting this in context, the general medical practitioners in the state had been on strike since eleven months ago, safe all the three to four weeks they were at work after the general strike before they absconded.
“I must thank your association and through you other medical practitioners outside the recalcitrant doctors in our health centres for their support, zeal and commitment to serving our people in the health care delivery system at the local and state level.
“Nobody is trying to discount the significant of doctors, but it could have been very devastating if the other health workers have joined in this unnecessary boycott of work”. The Governor stressed.
Aregbesola restated how on assumption of office, he changed many existing traditions such as the date for payment of salaries, leave bonus, increased car loans, increased housing loans and a host of other pro-workers initiatives.
He demanded how the same doctors who were beneficiaries of his pro-workers policies would therefore want to hold the state to ransom when it is clear to all that the financial situation is not the making of the government.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the association, Dr. Fabiyi Samson, said primary healthcare is the bedrock of any state’s healthcare system.
Samson said the governor should therefore be commended for what his administration has done on the primary healthcare system.
He disclosed that Osun is second to Lagos in the provision of sound health care system in the country.
According to him, primary healthcare holds a strategic position in the healthcare ladder as more than 75 per cent of the people are attended to at the primary healthcare level.
He also called on the governor to quickly ascent to the Primary Healthcare Board Bill recently passed by the House of Assembly.
“We appreciate what you are doing in primary healthcare system at the local government level. This has helped the health status of the state appreciably. We are now the second in the whole of the country.
“This has helped in improving our healthcare system, reducing mortality rate and increasing the immunisation coverage. In the last immunisation campaign we had 100 per cent success.