NMA calls on govt to address the shortage of doctors in Benue

By Bridget Ikyado
The Nigeria Medical Association, Benue Chairman, Dr Usha Anenga has called on the government to address the shortage of healthcare workers in the state, especially doctors as the sector was struggling to contain the myriad of disease outbreaks.
Dr Anenga made the call  while speaking about the rising cases of Diphtheria across the country which has claimed 38 lives out of 123 confirmed cases so far.
” We don’t have enough capacity. We have a huge challenge of personnel to handle the population we have.
” In Nigeria, a doctor is servicing ten thousand population of people.
” How are doctors going to cope?
In Benue state, there’s a shortage of doctors. Some General Hospitals have just one doctor.” He said.
The Chairman added that doctors in the state were owed salaries which is why they were leaving the state and called on the government to address the issue.
“Doctors at the General Hospitals are owed salaries, some up to seven months. They are not paid as and when due, their last salaries were that of July or September 2022.
“How do you expect such health workers to give their best? That is why they are leaving,” he said.
 “In the last three years, we have had more than half of them leave that system. We need to sit down at a round table and address these issues frankly. I want to call on stakeholders to give these issues the seriousness they deserve.”
Dr Anenga earlier spoke extensively about the disease, its transmission, symptoms, and preventive measures which he said included vaccination, avoidance of overcrowding, use of face masks, and observing basic hygiene such as handwashing.
He also called on parents & caregivers to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated against diphtheria with three (3) doses of the pentavalent vaccine as recommended in the childhood immunization schedule.
He also lauded the Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom, and Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Joseph Ngbea as he disclosed Benue state was awarded as the best state in terms of vaccination coverage in North-Central Nigeria last year, saying those efforts may have accounted for the relatively calmer situation in the state.