The management of tertiary hospitals in Nigeria have resolved to stop all forms of industrial actions in the health sector.
The Chairman, Committee of Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of Tertiary institutions, Professor Thomas Agan gave the hint in a chat with newsmen in Calabar city, Cross River State.
Professor Agan said that “due to the economic downturn, the management of tertiary hospitals was more challenging than in previous years.’’
According to him, the bulk of revenue generated within such tertiary institutions, besides being contributed to the Treasury Single Account, is expended on payment of electricity bills and fuel for huge power generating plants.
“Electricity bill is one of the greatest challenges we have. On a monthly basis, we pay about 6 million Naira. In the absence of public power supply, we use one 515 KVA generator for the laboratories, a 500 KVA generator, which supplies the theatre and parts of the hospital. We have also decided to acquire a 200 KVA generator for the Radiology Department,” he stated.
The CMD further explained that, “Once Nigeria’s legislature approves the inclusion of tertiary health institutions on the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, infrastructural challenges, issues of training, research and other important needs would be catered for.
“I can tell you that the National Assembly is looking at the matter very critically and soon there will be a public hearing in the Senate. Once that is done to include the Tertiary hospitals in TETFUND, it will take care of infrastructural development, training, research and other things. We train over 80 percent of students from medical school, we also train postgraduate doctors, nurses and other staff as well,” Professor Agan explained.
On staff salaries, he said that the Nigerian Government was not indebted to any staff of tertiary hospitals in the nation, stressing that the arrears of last year’s emoluments were cleared before the turn of 2017.
He stated that the backlog of promotion arrears owed some workers in the sector have been included in the 2017 budget of the Ministry of Health for swift payment.
Professor Agan said “For now, 2014, 2015, 2016 and part of 2013 promotion arrears have not been paid. The Government has calculated it and has been captured by the budget office. The next step is for the Federal Minister of Finance to authorise cash backing. The Government is doing its best to ensure that civil servants in the health sector do not suffer unnecessarily because it is their right and not a privilege.”
He urged patients in federal owned hospitals to endeavour to pay up their medical bills for health facilities run efficiently.
Professor Thomas Agan is also the CMD of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Cross River state.