The Osun State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has asked its members to proceed on a seven-day warning strike to press for payment of outstanding salaries and other benefits due to them.
According to the Chairman of the association, Tokunbo Olajumoke, the warning strike follows the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum it gave to the state government.
He told journalists in Osogbo on Monday that the state government failed to accede to the demands of the doctors within the 21 days given.
"The seven-day warning strike is to commence immediately because the 21-day ultimatum issued to the state government to look into the pending issues raised by the doctors has expired," Mr. Olajumoke said.
"Within that seven days, there won't be any form of clinical activities in all the state-owned hospitals and no doctor is allowed to treat any patient for that seven days."
But the state government has appealed to the doctors to shelve the strike and show understanding with the government.
The Commissioner for Health, Rafiu lsamotu, said in a statement on Monday that the state government was committed to providing quality healthcare for citizens as well as ensure that the doctors and health workers were well remunerated.
"The government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola does not like strike. We consider the welfare of our people important and we take it seriously," the commissioner said.
"We will do everything to improve on the welfare of the people. We appeal to our doctors to bear with us, reason with us and be considerate.
"We have laid our cards on the table; there are so many things the doctors are demanding, two of those things bordered on payment of salaries in 2015 when they were on strike and Revised CONMES.
"We have held meetings with the NMA and other stakeholders. We have engaged them unofficially too. The government had been engaging the doctors since they gave 21 days ultimatum. We have told them what the government is doing and the two parties need to reach agreement.
"Anyway, we will continue to discuss with them. I plead with the doctors to try to understand the position of the government; they should consider the patients in the hospital. We will do everything humanly possible to resolve the issue on time.
"We will do our best to ensure that the strike is not prolonged. This government is serious about the welfare of the people of the state. We will do everything to reach a compromise with the NMA.
"It is on record that doctors in the State of Osun are perhaps the highest paid in the South-West states after Lagos. The government did everything to ensure the standard was maintained for as long as the finances of government were in good shape."