GOVERNORSHIP candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has disclosed that he will make good healthcare his priority by working harmoniously with medical doctors and resolve issues affecting their welfare decisively. Speaking with doctors in Edo State at an interactive session with the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, at the weekend, he promised if elected to immediately pay them the one month outstanding salary owed them by the state government for participating in a nationwide strike called by the association early in the year. “Anybody who values human life will not want a strike action from doctors not to talk of one lasting two months. Whatever arrears the state government is owing octors, the outgoing governor has about a month or two to pay them, but if he fails which is very likely, it will be my priority as one of the liabilities we will inherit once we assume office. “For me doctors are key to the success of my administration and we will do everything possible to work harmoniously with them. They are extremely important to the wellbeing of our state and it will make a lot of sense to deal with issues affecting them decisively”.
He promised that under his simple agenda, the state’s comprehensive health plan would ensure that primary health centres all over the state are rehabilitated, so that healthcare facilities will become more accessible. The PDP candidate painted a very gloomy picture of the state of the health sector in Edo State, lamenting that the State Sickle Cell Centre has been bastardised with sickle cell sufferers left on their own. He said in the last eight years, the health management board has not employed any doctor and presently has no pathologist, psychitrist or dermatologist on its pay roll. Pastor Ize-Iyamu regretted that the last set of doctors were employed by the state government in 2006, arguing that the employment of doctors and allied health personnel goes beyond saving scarce resources or reducing the cost of governance. “The health sector is in shambles based on existing statistics. Today, the only State School of Nursing has been de-accredited since 2011 for lack of adequate funding by the state government. In 2013, the federal ministry of health did an evaluation of primary healthcare centres across the country. Ondo State came out tops with 91 percent and Edo came out last with six percent”.