Place Health Workers on First Line Charge, Benue HMB to Gov Alia

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Worried over non payment of Hospitals Management Board health workers in Benue State, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr Lukas Akaagnee has implored Governor, Hyacinth Alia to place the staff on first line charge to enable them meet the health needs of the Benue citizens.
Dr Akaagnee who made this call in an interview with Day Break in Makurdi, argued that if institutions like , Benue State University staff among others are placed on first line charge, Staff of the Hospitals Management Board should be placed on first line charge as well.
” Government should placed Doctors and Health Workers in the board on first line charge of salary payment. What Iam saying is that, if others are to be placed on first line charge, Staff of HMB should be placed on first line charge as well”.
We have been having issues of salaries, we have being owed between eleven and twelve months salaries. A hungry man is an angry man. The defense of health workers is the food they eat, not the drugs. They need those salaries to be able to take care of themselves to enable them take care of the sick people.”
According to the Executive Secretary, salary challenge is an impediment to smooth operations, adding that some times leads to strike action. He pointed out that they don’t like embarking on strike because some of the drugs may expire during the period of the strike and some patient may die.
” We try to discourage these strikes. Some times we have to beg the Staff not to go on strike. As much as we don’t like strikes, some times we can’t help it.” He posited that lack of professional staff is a serious challenge, stating that it has affected the activities of the board.
Dr Akaagnee explained that there was a scheme being ran by the Benue State Government known as ‘ Medical Funds Scheme’ where the state government would pay stipends to medical students so that when they graduate, they will come and serve the state at least for two years, which according to him brought a lot of Doctors to the state, stating however that the scheme has been scraped.
” When the salaries were no longer being paid, most of the Doctors decided to leave. We were having one hundred and fifty (150) Doctors, presently we are having about Forty (40) Doctors. Not many of our hospitals have two Doctors, because they are not there. It is not desirable to have one Doctor in a hospital because he will get tired. Each hospital should have at least three Doctors and fifteen Nurses.”
The Executive Secretary hinted that plans are underway to upgrade the hospitals across the state to a significant high level to address the health needs of Benue citizens. He said lack of vehicles are hindering board from carrying out its lawful duties of supervising the 22 hospitals scattered all over Benue State.
In a similar vein, Dr Akaagnee noted that one of the challenges bedeviling the board is the current inflammation that has devalued the funds they have, stressing that the funds are not enough to procure requisite drugs for people of Benue State.

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