Abia Government Uncovers ‘Japa’ Doctors Still Collecting Salaries

Abia state governor, Alex Otti, revealed that his administration has exposed some medical doctors on the state payroll who migrated abroad in pursuit of greener pastures commonly known as ‘Japa,’ who still receive salaries from the state government despite their departure from state employment.

Otti made the revelation during his address at the inaugural State’s Council on Health, held at the International Conference Centre, Umuahia.

It was gathered that the event’s theme, titled: “Providing an Accessible, Affordable, and Quality Healthcare System for the New Abia.”

The governor observed that doctors’ emigration had impacted negatively on the state’s health sector, promised to tackle the trend by giving doctors a special welfare package starting next year.

He said: “The ‘japa’ syndrome has indeed taken its toll on the health sector; however, this administration is not leaving any stone unturned in addressing this challenge. To this end, the government has resolved to motivate our health care workers through prompt payment of their wages and improvement of welfare packages that we will introduce from 2024.”

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“We are in the process of recruiting new skilled birth attendants to improve healthcare service delivery in the state. Furthermore, our ongoing digitalisation of the Abia State civil service has uncovered some staff that have left their duty post for greener pastures, yet still receive remuneration from the government.

“While the criminality involved in this is going to be addressed by the relevant agencies of government, the important thing here is that we do not have the number of hands that were hitherto reported. We are working hard to fill these gaps.”