Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Dr. Basil Nwankwo, Chief Medical Director, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH) Amaku Awka-south local government area of Anambra state, has disclosed that workers at the hospital have assurances for their salaries and other benefits.
Nwankwo said that it was the efforts of his administration since 2017 that restored hopes and aspirations of workers, as he fought tooth and nail to end casualisation of workers in the hospital.
The Chief Medical Director who disclosed this while presenting a situation report on the activities of the hospital during the maiden oversight visit of the House of Assembly Committee on Health, noted that in spite of meagre resources, the hospital had achieved tremendous strides.
He said that all workers were paid as and when due contrary to what he met on ground in 2017, stressing that workers in Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital now received their emoluments on a regular basis and that COOTH was not indebted to any worker.
The CMD further stated that COOUTH was among the first teaching hospitals in the country to implement the 2019 salary scheme even though he was thankful to the state governor and members of the state assembly for the budgetary provisions that were deployed for the actualisation of the payments.
Nwankwo also noted that there were no conditions of service for all categories of workers since inception but told members of the committee on health that he had been able to fashion out a condition of service for all categories of workers that had received the blessings and endorsement of the state government.
He was of the opinion that another problematic issue in the hospital was the governing law of the teaching hospital. Although he pointed out that the revised law of the hospital was currently awaiting the governor’s assent, he impored members of the state assembly to prevail on the governor to enable him to expedite the process of appending his signature on the law for it to be effective.
The COOTH boss who stated that the hospital was audited for the first time since 2012, noted that it was his primary responsibility to ensure that the accounts of the hospital were audited to ensure transparency, probity and accountability in the running of the hospital.
He said upon assumption of office as the Chief Medical Director, the pharmaceutical department of the hospital was in a shambles and the hospital was owing contractors about N35m worth of drugs and there were no drugs in the hospital.
Nwankwo said the situation led to the outright sack of the Director
of pharmaceutical services and the appointment of an acting Director, stressing that ever since they had tried to remodel supply pattern of drugs to the hospital.
Another salient issue he raised was that the diagnostic which should have been giving the hospital an upward of about N10m every month was long overdue. He said the diagnostic was equally useful in the management of COVID-19 and pleaded with the committee on health to help ensure that the equipment was restored because Anambra citizens were the overall beneficiaries.
Chairman of the House of Assembly Committee on Health, Dr. Cater Dike Nnamdi Umeh, however, assured the management and staff of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital that all the issues raised would receive priority attention.
Umeh said it was the duty of the committee to oversight the hospital to ascertain their concerns and liaise with the executive arm to ensure that their concerns were attented to.