The era of non-payment of salaries to civil servants, especially health workers in Abia State is now a thing of the past, as the State Government under Alex Otti, has promised to give it prority attention .
Dr. Ngozi Okonkwo, state’s commissioner for Health, who made the promise during a tour of some government hospitals in Aba, noted that the current administration in the state, would not owe salaries.
According to her, “You don’t talk about salaries with us, because we are paying. You should talk about arrears, which we were not responsible for, but are making efforts to clear. In fact, April salary will be paid within the week.
“So, what is important to us is to ensure that salaries are paid and regularly too. Salary payment is not an achievement for any government. So for this administration headed by Governor Alex Otti, salary payment is sacrosanct. It is something that the administration knows it must do.”
Apart from prioritising workers’ welfare, Okonkwo said that Governor Otti also wants to improve health facilities in the state and make them habitable, which is why he declared a state of emergency on health.
She said that the state governor has given her ministry the mandate to rehabilitate and revitalise three general hospitals, one in each of the three senatorial districts of the state within the first 100 days of his tenure in office.
Inspecting the Aba General Hospital, which was chosen in Abia South senatorial zone, Okonkwo, in company of Dodoh Okafor, an aide to the governor and other staff of the ministry, expressed disappointment over the structure of the hospital, which according to her was below standard.
Recall that the newly built Aba General Hospital, was one of the last projects commissioned by the former Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu.
Consequently, she said that they would report back to the Governor to consider adopting Abayi Cottage Hospital, for rehabilitation, until Aba General Hospital is modified to standard.
“Nobody should come here to be seen by a doctor. Nobody should be seen working here. This is a disaster waiting to happen. So, it is a thing that we need to take back to the Governor and see what he can do quickly, so that we would probably get people to start rehabilitation work here immediately.
“We have less than 60 days to do this,” she said.
Meanwhile the commissioner, debunked rumours in some quarters that it has sacked its medical doctors, describing it as “untrue”.
The Commissioner gave the clarification in a statement on Monday noting that the purported sack was only the figment of the authors’ imagination as the government has no intention of sacking or disengaging any doctor or health personnel currently working to support our ongoing efforts at reviving the health sector in the state.”
Dr. Okonkwo who maintained that no one has been asked through any circular to submit “fresh expression of interest” as the fake circular directed, advised the doctors and members of the general public to ignore the rumour and support the several initiatives of the government at driving holistic healthcare delivery in the state.