President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah has disclosed that the medical sector lost up to 30 doctors to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
The experienced Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist also lamented the non-payment of their death benefits and insurance by the government despite the fact that the deceased died in the line of duty.
Besides, Professor Ujah lamented that doctors, especially those in the south-east were owed up to two years salaries, which had already affected their work morale while calling on the affected states to clear the backlog.
He said: “NMA right from the beginning of the pandemic has been very proactive, through advocacy and constructive engagements, dialogue and conversations.
“As soon as Covid was announced, we put in place mechanism. we told the government what it should do and they would not listen, otherwise, we would not have had the many cases we had.
“They demonstrated resilience, commitment and that was why even in the face of inadequacies, we were working and we lost over 20 to 30 doctors to Covid and you know once a life is lost, it is not replaceable.
“The worst thing is that their death insurances have not been paid. And we think that they should be paid.
“We believe that their deaths benefits and insurances should be paid. And one way of encouraging the health workers is to motivate them.
“Some of these basic things can be fulfilled. It is our firm belief that with the right support from the governments, our efforts to provide excellent health services to Nigerians will continue to improve.
“Everything in Nigeria that is bad is endemic. Poverty is endemic. Inflation is endemic. But we are not saying that doctors should go on strike.
“Doctors go on strike only as a last resort. All we need to talk about is that let us be proactive in responding to the needs of doctors.
“Can you imagine some states owing up to 21 months of salary arrears? Do you expect the doctors in those states to put in the best?
“And most of these arrears are in the South East. That’s the truth of the matter. We have statistics for this.”