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Kaduna NMA, NARD Urge Implementation of CONMESS

As President Bola Tinubu marks his one year in office, the Nigerian Medical Associations (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in Kaduna State, have urged the Kano State Governor, Uba Sani to fully implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.

The associations made the demand during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna, in commemoration of the governor’s one year in office.

Speaking, the Chairman of NMA, Dr Madaki Sheyin, said the state has experienced progress in the health sector, especially in the secondary facilities.

According to him, a lot of Primary Health Centers have been upgraded, adding,” I will score him above average. Recently, repairs of some infrastructure started in the secondary facilities.”

Sheyin urged the governor to fully implement the new salary structure so as to attract more personnel to the state.

“CONMESS is the consolidated medical salary scale approved for doctors in the country.

“It is supposed to be applicable to all the medical doctors working in the country irrespective of whether they are working with the Federal Government, State or LGA.

“But, since it started in 2009, doctors in Kaduna State have never had a full implementation, hence the pay parity between doctors in the Federal and State.

“It is also being reviewed every four to five years, so it was reviewed in 2014, 2019 & 2023 & at the federal level.”

The NMA chairman said the state has been on the 2009 scale, lamenting the refusal of the previous administration to implement the 2014 reviewed package.

He added, “It only promised and signed MOUs, which were never honoured. The Uba Sani administration promised in August to implement the 100 per cent 2014 CONMESS in August last year.

“That was partly implemented in March 2024 for some doctors, while others are yet to get that implemented.

“But they have shown the willingness to do so and are in discussion with the Association and its affiliates.”

According to Sheyin, once the state government implements the full salary structure, more workers will be attracted to the state.

Also speaking, Dr Josiah Bosan, President, NARD, Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, congratulated the governor on his achievements in his first year in office.

He noted that the year witnessed some significant improvements in the healthcare sector, which is a major agenda of his administration.

Bosan said,” This improvement could be appreciated, especially at the primary and secondary healthcare level.

”Worthy of note are in areas of renovation of some General hospitals and PHCs, as well as equipping them with medical facilities and consumables.”

He also appreciated the governor for maintaining free maternal and neonatal services and improvements in the remunerations of doctors under the state Ministry of Health.

Bosan, however, pointed out,” The only state-owned tertiary hospital in the state, Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, has not really recorded any significant improvements rather than facing continuous deterioration of healthcare service delivery.

“On Barau Dikko, many issues are threatening to derail the smooth running of the hospital.

”Its autonomy should be fully restored. This will solve more than 80 per cent of its challenges and the running battle with the resident doctors and deteriorating services, with limited doctors.”

Bosan revealed that the hospital lacked medical and laboratory consumables and there was a shortage of manpower.

This, he said, has affected the residency training programmes leading to serious brain-drain and burnout mainly due to the scarcity of House Officers.

Bosan lamented the poor remuneration being faced by resident doctors in the state and called for the full implementation of CONMESS.

He said, ” Residents doctors are poorly paid and there is non-funding of residency programmes, just to mention a few.

”But, we are hopeful that things will improve as there are ongoing significant negotiations and we will still call on His Excellency to make that come to pass.”

In the same vein, the former Secretary of NARD, Dr Abass Ajayi, urged Tinubu to improve the working conditions for doctors.

He said the employment of more health workers, purchase of essential equipment and the payment of medical residency training funds should be improved.

”I urge the Federal Government to pay our residency training funds for a 200 per cent increase in allowances and to also pay all our arrears,” Ajayi appealed.

According to him, more needed to be done so as to tame brain-drain and streamline the recruitment process in the health sector to address the shortage of manpower across the country.

Ajayi demanded, “There should be good remuneration in the health sector, which is commensurate with the current economic conditions. Doctors are pretty overworked.”

The physician decried the continuous exit of pharmaceutical companies from the country, leading to high costs of drugs and warned that this will limit access to healthcare for Nigerians.