Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, has appealed to medical doctors on the state payroll, to join hands with his administration, to ensure that hospitals are functional and serve the medical needs of the citizenry.
Uzodinma equally disclosed that his administration was working very hard to produce a blueprint that will make all government hospitals work optimally, even as he regretted that “currently, not even one General Hospital in Imo State, is working properly.
The Governor made his feelings known, when he received in audience, members of Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, who were in Government House, Owerri, on a courtesy call.
Uzodinma said: “The situation of General Hospitals, Specialist Hospital and even healthcare centres in the state, leaves much to be desired and requires all hands to be deck to put the hospitals back on track for Imo people to get healthcare from them.
“Of all my agenda, healthcare delivery is on the priority list. What is happening in Imo State University Teaching Hospital, IMSUTH, Orlu, particularly the level of dilapidation I saw, while on an inspection visit to the establishment, gives me cause for serious concern.
“The institution’s College of Medicine lost accreditation because of negligence, lack of dedication and seriousness on both the management and staff of the College, but I am prepared to change the narrative if the doctors are on the same page with me on my vision for the school.”
He expressed regret that a situation where students spend upwards of 11 years on the campus, studying a particular course without being sure of graduating, is unfortunate and unacceptable.
On the issue of delayed payment of salaries of some senior staff of the Medical School, the Governor explained that in the process of automating the salary payroll of the state civil service, a lot of discrepancies, including processes of engagement of doctors were discovered.
He noted that all efforts to get those concerned to come forward to rectify the anomaly proved abortive, pointing out that he was very prepared to clear all arrears of salaries owed the staff of the College, as soon as the records were put straight, including making the hospitals and medical services to start working again.
Uzodinma then directed the Commissioner for Health, to liaise with the management of the Medical School for the purposes of resolving all the contentious issues.
Earlier in their presentation, the NMA, Imo State branch, led by its Vice-Chairman, Dr. Victor Ike Okechukwu, said they came to interact with the Governor on some problems bedeviling the health sector in Imo State, which they said had lingered for a long time.
Dr. Okechukwu cited the loss of accreditation by the IMSUTH, delay in payment of salaries of the institution’s teachers, implementation of the 2014 Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, COMESS, for medical workers in Imo State, as part of the issues.
While pledging to partner with government to bring the state’s health sector in Imo back on track, the NMA leadership also pleaded with the Governor to look at the issues they raised passionately and come to their aid.