Imo doctors suspend strike as Ihedioha wades in

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Striking doctors in Imo state on Thursday suspended the indefinite industrial action they embarked on to drive home their demands at the tail end of Rochas Okorocha after reaching an agreement with Governor Emeka Ihedioha.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, noted the aggrieved doctors agreed to end the strike after the governor intervened.

According to the statement: “Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON and Imo State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have reached an agreement to suspend their strike action that has crippled the health sector for nearly two months.

“The truce was reached during a meeting of the enlarged Executive Council of the association with the Governor held at the Sam Mbakwe Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Owerri on Wednesday”.

The leadership of the association, according to the governor’s aide, “immediately announced that the strike action embarked upon by medical doctors in the state has been called off immediately.”

NMA Chairman, Dr. Kyrian Duruewuru, listed nine items that constitute their grievances which include, non-implementation of the Revised Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) of January 2014, reduction of salaries of Doctors in Imo State Service by 30%, that is payment of 70% of the old CONMESS, payment of the outstanding arrears of 30% reduction of salaries and payment of three- month arrears of salaries of Imo State University Teaching Hospital Doctors.

Others were: “Payment of ten- month arrears of allowances for Doctors in Hospitals Management Board (HMB) and Imo State Specialist Hospital, payment of promotion arrears, deplorable condition of all access roads to Imo State University Teaching Hospital-IMSUTH, loss of accreditation of so many departments in IMSUTH for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies as well as restoration of full subvention to IMSUTH, ISSH and HMB.”

In his reaction at the meeting, the governor promised to look into their demands, urging them to call off the strike immediately in the interest of majority of the citizens.

He said: “You have been on strike for over a month and many patients may have died as a result of negligence. The Bible tells us not to kill, knowingly or unknowingly.

“I have heard all you said. On the issue of full Subvention to the Teaching Hospital, Imo Specialist Hospital and Hospitals Management Board, we can do that immediately.

“On the issue of collapsed access roads to the Imo State University Teaching Hospital, we shall do so as soon as possible because we do not want patients to die.

“On accreditation of some departments in the Teaching Hospital, we will collaborate with you on this because we need to know what needs to be done and how it should be done.

“On all the other issues, including engaging more doctors, we shall set up a holistic committee to do a review and advise Government on all the other issues. They will not be done in isolation.

“Now, we require your support and patience. Give us benefit of the doubt. It will be nice for you to go back to work, to continue to save lives.

“On behalf of the government of Imo State, I urge you to call off the strike immediately.”

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