BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Following plans by the Edo State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), to embark on strike, Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state government is making arrangement for private health care providers to offer essential services to patients in state government hospitals, as the demands by the NMA are unrealistic.
Obaseki said this when he received the newly inaugurated members of the Governing Board of the University Of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) at the Government House, in Benin City on Monday.
He said the state government will write to the national body of NMA as the Edo State chapter of the association “has threatened to shut down the health system in the state following their unrealistic demands.”
Obaseki said: “We believe that the doctors’ demands are unrealistic, having been part of the steps taken so far to improve the conditions of service of medical doctors in the state. They see what we are doing and yet have threatened to go on strike because I cannot afford to fulfil 100 per cent of their demands.”
He noted that the doctors are not fair to the state as “we agree with their demands but cannot afford all the demands now, rather we will spread them across four years of this administration, but the Edo NMA rejected the offer and insists on embarking on strike.
“We are looking at various ways to execute our health reforms but will not allow anyone to blackmail us. We have been open, honest and have carried NMA along in all our activities till date. We will be talking to private health practitioners to help us and I have told them that I cannot afford all their requests at once. We are already making backup plans to take care of ourpeople, if we are constrained to.”