Health workers at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AEFUTHA), who have not been paid salaries since their employment in December, were finally enrolled into the payment system about a week after HumAngle’s report.
HumAngle drew attention to the plight of the workers on May 7 after speaking to six resident doctors, who said they could no longer cope with the financial hardship.
They had been told by the hospital management that non-payment of their salaries was as a result of the inability to capture them into the federal government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The hospital further said IPPIS officials in Abuja could not visit the facility to have it done because of ongoing restrictions on inter-state travelling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a general notice obtained by HumAngle, the AEFUTHA management has now informed “all newly recruited staff of their IPPIS biometric data capture exercise” schedule, which spanned four days between May 16 and May 19.
The first day of the exercise covered ambulance drivers, technicians, health attendants, clerical officers, and porters.
Medical laboratory scientists, radiographers, pharmacists, dietitians, administrative officers, and account officers were captured on the second day.
Then on Monday and Tuesday, the IPPIS officials captured nurses, as well as consultants, registrars, and medical officers. It was gathered that the biometric data of over 100 newly employed doctors were captured in approximately five hours.
Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had given his assurance a day after HumAngle’ report was published that the matter would be looked into.
“I will ask the Permanent Secretary to look into it. This is not the time we want to see that our valiant health workers are in any way not happy with the circumstances under which they serve,” he declared at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in response to a question.
One of the hospital’s resident doctors who spoke to our correspondent thanked the minister for the swift action and said they anticipate receiving their arrears “in no distant time”.