The medical fraternity in Zamfara is on the brink of a critical juncture as doctors are issuing an ultimatum to the state government, threatening to shutter government hospitals due to prolonged salary arrears.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Zamfara state chapter has issued a stern one-week deadline to the state government, compelling them to promptly remit four months’ worth of salary to 17 medical workers employed at Prince Bakura Specialist Hospital. Dr. Sanusi Bello, the chairman of the NMA in Zamfara, delivered a press address on Monday in the state capital, Gusau, detailing the dire situation and the impetus behind the potential strike.
Bello highlighted a glaring example of the dire financial circumstances faced by medical professionals in the state. For the month of July 2023 alone, salaries of all doctors at Prince Bakura Specialist Hospital went unpaid. In addition to this, an alarming eight-month backlog of allowances for medical personnel has accrued, creating a critical financial strain that has resulted in a halt in their medical services.
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The NMA is firm in its stance, granting the Zamfara state government a mere week to rectify the salary and allowance discrepancies that have driven this impending crisis. Dr. Bello asserted that unless these grievances are urgently addressed, a strike action will be initiated, commencing on Monday, September 4, 2023.
Drastic measures are in place should the demands go unmet. The NMA president issued a stark warning, outlining the potential consequences of such inaction. The planned strike could culminate in the suspension of medical services across the board, encompassing federal government hospitals, state-run medical facilities, and even private hospitals. This would encompass a comprehensive withdrawal of medical and dental services by all doctors practicing within Zamfara state.
As the clock ticks down to the ultimatum’s expiration, the fate of healthcare services in Zamfara remains precarious. The doctors’ demands, rooted in fair compensation and a sustainable working environment, reflect the dire need to address systemic issues that have far-reaching implications for both medical professionals and the communities they serve.