From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
As the rumour of what led to the sudden collapse and subsequent death of Dr. Chukwudibe Rosemary, a staff of Kogi state -owned Specialist Hospital in Lokoja last week Monday, continues to spread across the state, the chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association(NMA), Kogi Chapter, Dr Godwin Tijani has attributed the incident to financial difficulties and excess workload.
Shedding more light on the circumstances surrounding the death of the doctor, the Chairman stated that Dr. Rosemary developed complications and was rushed to the hospital for medical attention, stressing that she collapsed and died when she was almost being stable.
He added that before she finally gave up the ghost she had complained of her inability to pay her children school fees owing to non- payment of salaries and emoluments running into several months.
He noted that the woman only collected January salary this year and when the February salary was paid last week to some of her colleagues, she discovered that her name was omitted from the payroll for reasons nobody was able to explain to her.
According to the NMA chairman ” some doctors who were attending to her said she could not afford to pay for medical examination bills. In fact she pleaded with the Hospital Management to intervene without success.
” For another doctor, three nurses and a ward attendant to collapse almost simultaneously means that all is not well with the Health sector..
” The state government has been withholding Cooperative contributions of health workers as only 60 per cent is remitted instead of 100 per cent and these are some of the reasons NMA embarked on strike action earlier this year. Also some workers who took loans from banks and after they have finished defraying the loans, the government still continued to deduct from source without remitting it to the banks thereby creating additional financial burden on workers.” He lament.
The NMA chairman further stressed that even the Union dues deducted at source from workers are seldom remitted to the Union lamented the condition of the health workers which he described as appalling and pathetic.
He said apart from the 60 per cent salary they took from September to December last year they have only received January and February which many of their names were omitted.
Tijani while condemning the inhuman treatment meted to health workers in the state revealed that many doctors are leaving the services of the hospital in droves for greener pastures in some workers friendly states even as some nurses recently employed were charged to put their employment on hold.
He said aside the irregular payment of salaries, hospitals in the state are understaffed and lacked necessary equipments to work with.
The NMA boss regretted the deplorable state of the specialist Hospital which was once the pride of the state to have been run aground stressed that there was no functional Intensive Care Unit urged the government to come to the aid of the hospital to prevent further avoidable deaths.