Abia State Government Plans Enhanced Welfare Package for Health Workers to Curb Migration

Abia State Government Plans Enhanced Welfare Package for Health Workers to Curb Migration

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In a bid to curb the migration of health professionals, particularly doctors and nurses, to foreign countries, the Abia State Government has revealed plans to introduce an enhanced welfare package for medical personnel in its employ starting from 2024. Governor Alex Otti made this announcement during the first-ever Abia State Council on Health held at the Ochendo International Conference Centre in Umuahia.

Governor Otti, expressing concern over the continuous migration of health professionals, emphasized the need to rejuvenate and revolutionize the state’s health sector. He allocated 15% of the 2024 budget proposal to the health sector to fulfill his promise of prioritizing healthcare in the state.

To address the issue of salary arrears and strikes by health workers, Otti shared plans to improve the welfare package for health workers, ensuring timely salary payments. He mentioned the clearance of salary arrears for doctors as a step towards stabilizing the health sector.

Governor Otti highlighted the regained accreditation of the medical college at Abia State University by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, emphasizing the commitment to preventing further deterioration of the medical sector.

Furthermore, the state government is recruiting skilled attendants for the deaf, and an insurance scheme will be introduced to reduce the financial burden on healthcare expenses.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, outlined the theme of the Council as “Providing Accessible, Affordable, and Quality Healthcare System for the New Abia.” The focus is on developing a sustainable health system that meets the needs of the people, with plans to strengthen primary healthcare and enhance secondary healthcare institutions.

Abia State plans to establish two functional Primary Health Care Centers (PHCs) in each Local Government Area and is renovating several General Hospitals across the state. Additionally, a health insurance scheme will be launched, enrolling vulnerable groups and pensioners.

Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the WHO Country Representative, commended Abia State for its commitment to improving access to healthcare services. Other stakeholders and donor agencies also attended the event, expressing support for the state’s efforts in healthcare delivery. In her keynote speech, former Director of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ngozi Azodo, emphasized the need for increased government investment in the health sector to prevent preventable deaths and address healthcare challenges.

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