BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The Cross River state Head of Service Dr. Chris Ekeng Ita, has charged managers of the health sector in the state to use budget mechanism to address any perceived shortfall in manpower need and facilities.
He gave the charge when he received the executives of Nigeria Medical Association, Cross River State branch and the executives of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives Council, Cross River State.
Ita said he was very excited with the arrangement between Nigeria Medical Association and Nigeria Nurses and Midwives Council to join forces in addressing their challenges as it is for the benefit of the patients that is now put at the centre. He said it was a well thought out plans that would enhance mutual benefit for Government and health workers in one side and the patients who are to receive the service.
He said his door is open and he is ready to work with the Associations to handle the administrative requirements before presenting it to the Governor for his approval.
According to him, “my first love and calling is in the medical profession where he has spent the most active part of his life. That he understood the situation and staff structure of the health sector which is top heavy and like no bottom. He said the implications is that nobody or young ones to be mentored in the field.
He said that the governor will not accept such situation in the health sector because his ears are on the plight of the people.
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Cross River State Branch Dr. Agam E. Ayuk, said the role of team based approach to quality health care delivery cannot be over emphasized.
As the poor doctors-nurses relationship has not only led to poor quality health service delivery but has made it difficult for both professions to achieve collective bargaining in labour related issues and unified position in health policies and allied matters.
That both professional bodies looked at their collective strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. And identified 8 thematic areas as the framework to work upon, which are healthy communication and social harmony among doctors and nurses, equitable managerial or leadership role in the healthcare workforce, ethics and professionalism in medical and nursing practices, numerations, security in workplace, human resource for health, healthcare infrastructure, equipment and supplies.
He further said in Cross River State two areas have been identified for urgent attention by the Governor. These are human resource for health and numerations.
He said World Health Organization said skilled health workers are critical pathway to attaining the health target in Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)3 adding that, the state has only 33 physicians to man 16 facilities in the state and some of them are in the Ministry while some are involved in intervention programmes and this made the state one of the lowest in the country in terms of manpower. And the only state in the federation that have not implemented 100%Conmess and Conhess for doctors and nurses.
According to Ayuk both professions are in agreement that the appointment of Dr. Chris Ekeng Ita as Head of Service was divinely timed to help Cross River State health sector.
Contributing, the chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives Council, Cross River State, Comr. Ojong Ofut Ogar called on the Government to declare state of emergency in the health sector as there is gross shortage of manpower in the sector.
According to Ogar the state has 33 doctors, 400 Nurses, 250 Midwives and by this February to April, 2020 not less than 100 Nurses would be retiring from the state service. He appealed that Government should give a waver to Nurses because the 3 years period of training that is counted into their service years make them retire early and that government should also bridge the salary gap to make it uninteresting for Nurses to seek employment in federal government establishment.
Mr Ogar further appealed that the school of nursing Calabar and schools of Midwifery should be up graded to Colleges to enable the state derives maximum benefit of the facilities that are already available.;