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Abia moves to end ‘japa’ syndrome among health workers



The Abia State Government, on Wednesday, said it is planning enhanced welfare package from 2024 for health workers in the state in a bid to discourage medical professionals especially doctors and nurses from migration to foreign countries in search of greener pastures.

Gov. Alex Otti, who disclosed this while declaring open the first ever Abia State Council on Health held Wednesday at the Ochendo International Conference Centre Umuahia, said his administration was resolute in rejuvenating and revolutionalising the state’s health sector which he met in deplorable condition.

According to Otti, he had during his inaugural speech, promised that Abia health sector would “come first” under his watch, adding, that he deliberately allocated 15% of the 2024 budget proposal to the health sector in fulfilment of that promise.

He also noted with deep concern, the rate at which health professionals especially doctors and nurses migrate abroad, saying that the scenario if unchecked, is capable of rocking the health sector.

The governor further stated that his administration had taken a number of actions to reposition the health sector in the state, hinting that health workers would receive better welfare package from 2024 in addition to prompt payment of salaries.

Otti said that he decided to defray the backlog of salary arrears of doctors in the state to end their incessant strike actions and save the health sector from total collapse.

Read also: Nigeria spends N1.79tr on domestic debt servicing in 3 months

The Governor who also expressed delight that the medical college of the Abia State University had regained its lost accreditation by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, vowed that never again would the medical sector in the state be allowed to deteriorate.

Governor Otti also disclosed that the state had started recruiting skilled attendants for the deaf, adding that insurance scheme will be introduced to reduce the financial burden of out-of-pocket expensis on health care.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo, earlier in her speech, said the Council meeting was aimed at putting the health sector on a sustainable path towards development.

According to her, the focus is to bestow on the people, a health system that meets their health needs irrespective of their socio-economic status.

The commissioner, who said that Government was determined to reposition and strengthen the Primary Health Care System which caters for over 60% of the health care needs of the people, announced plans to establish two functional PHCs in each Local Government and to further strength the secondary healthcare institutions for referrals.

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