The minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has assured that the federal government will address the non-payment of salaries meant to be paid to resident doctors at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AEFUTHA).
The minister said this on Friday at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in reaction to a report published by HumAngle the previous day.
Though he expressed doubt about whether the institution is owned by the federal or Ebonyi state government, Dr Ehanire said he will direct the ministry’s permanent secretary, Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, to look into the issue “immediately”.
“I am not aware that the state has issues with the workers; that is something I am just hearing but we shall look into it immediately,” he said.
“I think they must probably be state health workers but we shall look into it. 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.”
HumAngle had reported on Thursday that over 300 health workers, including resident doctors, at the federal teaching hospital have not been paid salaries since they resumed work in December 2019.
According to the hospital management, this is because they have yet to be enrolled under the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the department’s officials are unable to visit due to the ongoing lockdown and restriction on inter-state movements.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had written to the health minister, in a letter acknowledged on April 28, asking him to intervene in the matter and attaching a complaint letter from the doctors.
Resident doctors in Ondo State have complained as well about the non-payment of salary arrears and, on Friday, protested at the Ondo State Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital.
“We gave Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu seven days ultimatum to address our agitation or we will embark on an indefinite strike,” chairman of the Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Shittu Abiola, said.