Obaseki Seeks Doctors Support To Rejig Health System, Tackle Brain Drain

Obaseki Seeks Doctors Support To Rejig Health System, Tackle Brain Drain

Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has called for doctors collaboration to sustain reforms in the health sector, ensuring a resilient and equitable system to deliver efficient, quality and affordable services to Edo people.

Obaseki gave the charge when he received the new executives of the Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, at the Hospital Management Agency, who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.

The governor, who noted that he is pursuing a holistic reform and putting in place mechanisms to discourage health professionals from leaving the country, urged doctors to support government’s effort to strengthen the system and curb brain drain.

He said the state needs more doctors, particularly with the way they are traveling out for greener pastures. What we need is to strengthen the institutions that produce doctors. We are strengthening our educational system to produce more.

Noting that his administration is tackling the age-old challenges in the health sector such as dearth of modern medical equipment, decaying healthcare infrastructure, inadequate personnel and poor funding, Obaseki stated that “the system we inherited and structure put in place at that time was meant for that time, but today the society has changed, leading to the reforms in our medical sector. We must rethink the sector we inherited.

“We have insisted on healthcare reforms. This is why I brought down the central hospital to decentralize the healthcare system, ensuring that there is at least one health facility in every community.

“My focus is on how to produce more doctors by strengthening the basic education system. We need more than 200 new doctors who will take charge of PHCs across the state”.

Reacting to the doctors’ request to be included in the N40,000 new minimum wage, the governor said they are special breeds of civil servants and earn more, and therefore should not be asking for minimum wage.

“You are civil servants but the only set who earn more than the governor. A consultant in your system earns twice what I earn. Why should you be asking for minimum wage? What government did is to help those at the bottom because people go through a lot every day.

“The wage is to help those at the bottom to pass the poverty threshold. Certainly, there are allowances due to you but are subject to negotiation. We don’t like making promises we cannot fulfill as a government. This is one of the quarrels we have with the federal government. You can’t go and negotiate a labour contract and impose it on us”, the governor said.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation and president of the association, Dr Uaboi Ovbiagele commended the governor for the holistic reforms in the health sector, pledging their support to sustain reforms therein.

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