Health workers in Bakassi in the South West region have shed light over their deplorable working conditions.
Feeling forgotten, they say they have been neglected by authorities, and are asking the powers that be to come to their aid.
One of the most affected health facilities is CMA Isangele. Mbatchout Gilbert, Chief of Bureau for health in Bakassi says the hospital is deserted.
“… They have all left the hospital and they are having emergencies now and they have no way … Personnel in that hospital were sent to Kumbo Abedimo CMI, Akwa and they don’t understand what is happening,” he says.
He adds that “… I’ve just tried to inform the District Medical Officer who doubles as the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital to find out what is the situation….”
The District Medical Officer is yet to respond to the several appeals, MMI has learned.
Itoe Oliver, a former staff at the Isangele facility says several workers initially signed a contract for a three-year period. The three main components of the contract, he says, were that “… Allowance will be paid to the health personnel working in Bakassi, and to stay in Bakassi for a duration of not more than three years and with the possibility of getting scholarship after the three-year period…”
Sadly, he adds that the terms of the contract are broken. Like many others, Olivier says he benefitted from the finances only during the first year.
“… The three-year duration was never respected. There are colleagues there who have spent close to about twelve years. They are still there in Bakassi. The scholarship issue is forgotten,” he reveals.
Oliver adds that this only goes to worsen the already deplorable living conditions in the area for health personnel.
“… There is no electricity, no potable water, no network and as such there’s just no communication when you are there in Bakassi…”
Reducing the rate of absenteeism and increasing workers’ commitment, he recommends, will need urgent and effective intervention from authorities.
Prior to the worries raised over the facility in Isangele, health workers in the Bakassi Health District had addressed their worries to the South West Regional Delegate of Public Health.
Among the issues they raised were the “… lack of Bakassi allowance for years now; use of ghost workers who attend our trainings and meetings at the region by the DMO; absence from work by some of the staff leaving those present at work to have heavy workload…”
The staff also alleged that funds were being misused. “… An example is that of COVID-19. The amount handed to us does not match with what was presented on paper…”
They went on to threaten leaving work by weekend if nothing is done about it.
Authorities are yet to provide an official response to the workers’ grievances. Since the dispute over the Bakassi peninsula was resolved between Cameroon and Nigeria, many say government has left the people on their own.
Mimi Mefo Info