Dr. Joseph Onojaeme, Delta State Commissioner for Health (m), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Philomena Okeowo and Dr. Okolakpa Carter, NMA Chairman, Delta State branch when the Association paid a courtesy visit on the newly appointed Commissioner in his office in Asaba
By Donald Ojebo
Members of the Nigerian Medical Association, Delta State branch have been told to strive to make the Association a united body by bringing the Association under one body, build bridges, and to make conscious efforts to stop in-fighting in order to take the medical profession to higher heights.
The Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Onojaeme gave the charge today in his office when he received members of the Executive Council of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Delta State branch.
“The truth is that NMA is a body that we will move to a higher height. My being a commissioner will not stop me from being a member. I have told them at the computer room to deduct NMA dues at source from doctors under the employ of the State”.
He also stated that “As a member of the NMA, I am familiar with the Association’s challenges and there are some of them that Government is already handling like the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) for doctors working in the State Hospitals Management Board, as doctors working in Delta State Teaching Hospital, Oghara have been paid up to date. I have instructed the Department of Medical Services and Training in the Ministry to coordinate this aspect for the whole State so that all doctors working in the employ of the State government will benefit” the Commissioner disclosed.
“On the issue of doctors leaving the shores of the land due to better offers outside the country, the Governor has given a standing order for their replacements immediately they exit the system so that we don’t have to go through the rigors of seeking approval and other whole process of recruiting new doctors, so we will replace immediately in DELSUTH, HMB and other government health institutions”.
Dr. Onojaeme revealed that for the very low number of House Officers in the State owned hospitals, the Ministry has reached out to some universities outside the State and in the next couple of weeks the challenge will be addressed while the issue of their delayed payment which is one of the things that scared them from coming to the State will be a thing of the past within the next two months.
Earlier, Dr. Okolakpa Carter, Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Delta State branch disclosed that the essence of their visit was to felicitate with Dr. Joseph Onojaeme on his appointment as Commissioner for Health and used the medium to thank His Excellency, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori for the appointment.
“The health Ministry is a very key Ministry to our Association because it is the Ministry that oversees the affairs of doctors and other health workers in the State and as you are aware, this Association has challenges and we believe that with you at the helm of affairs we know that our concerns will all be taken care of” the Chairman stated.
Dr. Carter decried the exit of doctors in large numbers to other countries due to better welfare outside the shores of Nigeria and the resultant effect which he said has led to doctors in the State’s health facilities being overstressed and called for their immediate replacement.
“We are happy to have one of our own as the Commissioner for health and we believe that you have the capacity to give leadership to the Ministry of health through your office as the Honourable Commissioner for Health. We are ready to cooperate and partner with you in the area of policies and other area of cooperation with your office to see that the health sector is moved forward and made better and stronger than you met it” he added.