THE Kogi state government on Tuesday said it was using the members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving in the state in place of the striking medical doctors in the state-owned hospitals to ensure uninterrupted health care delivery to the people.
The state commissioner for health Dr Saka Audu, who said this in Lokoja, the state capital while speaking on the feats achieved by the ministry in the last two years, said the government could not afford to leave the people unattended to because of the strike.
He said that the state government could not fold its arms and watch the citizens of the state suffer due to the refusal of the doctors to treat them.
Audu said, “The state government resulted in using youth corps members serving in the state as palliative measures to ameliorate the suffering of the people.”
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kogi state branch has been on strike for many weeks, insisting on the payment of their four months salary balance of 40 percent owed them.
The commissioner explained that there was nothing wrong in engaging corps members to give health services to the people, adding that they had gone through training, certified, qualified and fit to handle non-critical issues.
He said that 41 percent of specialist doctors in the state and 48 percent of those under the state Health Management Board were working and were on hand to give specialised service which the youth corps doctors might not be able to handle.
The commissioner alleged that the lingering strike action by the doctors was political, adding that the state government would be ready to work with those who are ready to cooperate with it but also ready to let go of those who are engaging the state government in a political warfare.
He explained that while the state government was trying to dialogue with the striking doctors, they were demanding for too many things which could not be realised.
Speaking on the achievements of the present administration in the health sector, Audu said they include fixing of five zonal hospitals adequately supplied with modern medical equipment, free medical outreach in Lokoja, Ankpa, Idah, Dekina and others.