Around 450 doctors in Ogun State’s state-owned health facilities are set to go on an indefinite strike starting September 1 due to alleged non-payment of hazard allowances by the government.
These doctors work in various health institutions, including Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching University Hospital, general hospitals, primary health centres, and the Ministry of Health and Health Management Board.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Ogun State Government during its Annual General Meeting on August 10, 2023, demanding the payment of hazard allowances dating back to January 2023.
In a letter dated August 11, 2023, addressed to Governor Dapo Abiodun and signed by the NMA chairman and secretary, respectively, the organisation threatened industrial action if demands were not met by August 31.
Dr. Kunle Ashimi, the state’s NMA chairman, expressed state doctors’ frustration with unfulfilled promises by the government in a conversation with the PUNCH and emphasised the importance of hazard allowances.
Dr. Ashimi said, “There is this hazard allowance we have been clamouring for. The doctors at federal institutions are already collecting it, but the state institutions have not.
“We’ve had several meetings with the government as regards that. On March 5, during the electioneering campaign, Governor Dapo Abiodun promised to pay all the health workers in Ogun State, but it was an audio promise. We have had several engagements with them, but nothing has been done.
“It was because of the pressure mounted on them to fulfil the promises that they came up with the idea of giving palliatives to doctors. They now listed hazard allowance under it, but the doctor disagreed that there is a difference between hazard allowance and palliative.
“We expected that the government would make a move, and when we did not see anything, during our last AGM, it was agreed that we should give them another 21-day ultimatum, that if they did not pay or doctors were short-paid, there would be a statewide strike of all the doctors working with state hospitals and facilities across the state. All doctors in general hospitals, primary health care centres, and teaching hospitals would also be involved.”