The Accord Party governorship candidate in Abia State, Bishop Dr Emeka Nwankpa, has taken a swipe at the Government of Abia State over the collapse of the health sector.
The frontline governorship hopeful described it as ‘unbelievably embarrassing’ that doctors and other health workers in Abia State University Teaching Hospital, the apex health institution in the state, are owed for 22 months, while their counterparts in the Hospitals Management Board (HMB) are owed 14 months’ salary arrears.
According to him, ‘Our hospitals have suffered dilapidation. Visit these hospitals and you will be surprised to see that they have been overtaken by grass, snakes and lizards. From the General Hospital in Aba to the General Hospital in Okpuala Ngwa, to the General Hospital at Mgboko, Nneato and others, the story is the same – no medical equipment, no drugs and no motivation for workers. Today, the medical doctors in Abia State are on strike because their salaries are not paid. Our School of Medicine lost its accreditation because workers are heavily owed. From my findings, ABSUTH workers are owed for 22 months. Hospitals Management Board workers are owed for 14 good months. This should be a source of worry to every reasonable and responsible person in Abia State.’
Promising a revolution in the sector, if elected, Bishop Emeka Nwankpa, further said, ‘If elected Governor, I will declare a state of emergency in the health sector, just as I will do in education. I have heard that the present government says that our hospitals should generate money and pay themselves. Instead of commercializing our hospitals, we should increase the monthly subvention given to them. Government hospitals are not commercial ventures. They are established to save lives.’
‘One of the things I will do is to appoint honest and god-fearing people into the Boards of ABSUTH and HMB. It is only when we have honest people in authority that we can build a new Abia. We should not play politics with the health of Ndi Abia. We must make our hospitals work. There must be adequate healthcare for the people of Abia State.’
Asked how long it would take him to clear the salary arrears and how he would raise the money, he said, ‘Security vote is not meant for the governor and his friends and family members. I will allocate part of the security vote meant for the Office of the Governor to offset the salary arrears, and I will achieve it within one year in office.’