UNPAID DOCTORS’ SALARIES: RIGHTS GROUP WANTS GOV UMO ENO TO INTERVENE
A human rights group in Nigeria, the Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN), has drew the attention of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, to the non-payment of the allowances and entitlements of 22 Medical Doctors who were in the employ of the State Ministry of Health for their one year Housemanship.
The rights group made the call in a press statement signed by its Director, Otuekong Franklyn Isong and Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Comrade Vincent Aluu and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Saturday, July 29, 2023.
The statement stated that the medical doctors led by Dr. Emekem Akabom paid an advocacy visit to the CHRAN on July 25, 2023, where they narrated their ordeals as House Officers who were in the employ of the Ministry of Health but, posted to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) for their one year Housemanship beginning from February 2022, the end of which was to be February 2023.
According to their appointment letters from the Ministry of Health which copies were presented to the CHRAN, the doctors were engaged to start their services in February 14, 2022 which were to end February 13, 2023 but, they were not posted by the Ministry untill April, 2022 when they were eventually posted to the UUTH. The CHRAN stated that most of the doctors resumed the same April, 2022, while others were subsequently posted in May, 2022 and June, 2022.
The CHRAN said that the House Officers worked until April 2023 but were paid half salaries for February, 2023 without the salaries for March and April 2023.
The CHRAN noted that the house officers have made several efforts including letters to the Ministry on the subject matter but to no avail, saying that they had also written to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Health Matters, Dr. Ekem Emmanuel, and got relevant medical bodies, the Permanent Secretary and the Commissioner for Health, involved but got no solution.
Armed with the facts of the matter and moved by the plight of the doctors, the rights group said it led a delegation of the affected doctors to pay an advocacy visit to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Health Matters, Dr. Ekem Emmanuel, on Friday 28, 2023 in his office in Government House, noting that the SSA has assured the CHRAN and the doctors that the government of Governor Umo Eno will clear the outstanding salaries of the doctors.
The CHRAN described the situation as unfortunate and unacceptable, noting that the 22 medical doctors are being subjected to untold hardship and made to suffer for the mal-administration and inefficiency of those in the Ministry of Health who have shown incompetency in their handling of this matter.
The CHRAN said that the non-payment of the house officers outstanding salaries has affected their progress in the medical profession, observing that they are unable to pay for the registration fee of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) which has made them not to be mobilized for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The CHRAN commended Dr. Ekem Emmanuel, for his effort in getting the matter resolved thus far, while appealing to Governor Umo Eno to look into the matter by directing the relevant government Ministry to clear up the unpaid salaries of the 22 medical doctors.