By Philip Yatai
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, says plans are underway to improve the quality of health services in the federal capital, Abuja.
Wike gave the assurance when the Executive members of the FCT Chapter of the Association of Resident Doctors, led by the President, Dr Rahman Olayinka visited him in Abuja on Wednesday.
He explained that the FCT Administration would ensure necessary provisions in the 2024 budget to improve quality of services in health facilities in the FCT.
“The services at the moment are not encouraging. It is unfortunate.
“I was thinking that since FCT is a capital city it will have the best health facilities, but from what I am told, there is nothing to write home about, but be assured it will be the best.
“We will bring the health system to a standard that everybody will be happy,” he said.
The minister also said that efforts were being made to complete the Utako Hospital, adding that the FCT Administration was doing the best it can to meet the health needs of the people.
On salary increment and allowances to medical personnel, Wike said that the FCT do not currently have the financial resources to support salary increment or allowances.
He said that the current wage bill of the FCTA is N8 billion monthly.
Wike advised the doctors to place emphasis on unpaid increment and allowances while also concentrating on improving facilities for quality services.
He asked the group to work with the Mandate Secretary, Health Services and Environment Secretariat to work out unpaid allowances and salary increments for the administration to strategise how to pay.
He also advised the medical doctors against strike action in the name of salary increment, adding that efforts would be made to settle outstanding allowances and training of medical officers.
Earlier, Dr Olayinka thanked the minister for attending to some of their challenges within a short time in office.
He pointed out that health facilities in the FCTA were challenged by shortage of manpower and called on the minister to consider the health sector when opportunity emerged for recruitment.
He also appealed for the supply of more drugs for hospitals in the FCT to provide the needed services to the residents and those accessing the facilities from the neighbouring states.
“We need doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lab technicians among other critical manpower as FCT is at the receiving end of the “Japa” syndrome.
“We are being owed arrears of hazard allowance which the previous administration promised to pay in tranches,” he added.