Nigerian Doctors To Commence 5-Day Strike On Wednesday, To Resume Action After...

Nigerian Doctors To Commence 5-Day Strike On Wednesday, To Resume Action After Yuletide

By Felix Ojong | Sports Reporter on December 16, 2013
Biobelomoye Josiah, resident Doctors, NLC
File Photo

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has announced the it will embark on its planned strike on Wednesday December 18th 2013, despite plea by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who had urged them to shelve the action.

The notice of the strike was given on Wednesday December 11th 2013 in a statement entitled Countdown to Expiration of the December 14, 2013 Deadline. In the statement, NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enebulele, said it had become necessary for the association to take the step following what he described as “apparent levity and lack of concrete commitment” by the Federal Government.

Recall that Chukwu recently appealed to the union to give the government more time to implement some of the issues already agreed upon.

In a statement issued on Sunday, at the end of their National Executive Council meeting, the doctors said the strike would now commence on Wednesday and would only last for five days in order not to interrupt the Yuletide.

“The strike would resume in full force after the celebration”, the NMA said.

Read the statement signed by NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele and the Secretary General, Dr. Akpufuoma Pemu, below;

“For over five months now, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has recurrently engaged the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on issues bordering on some health sector challenges, workplace conditions and the conditions of service of doctors.

On September 2, 2013, the Nigerian Medical Association issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to address the issues tabled by NMA. However, based on the understanding reached following the intervention of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, the NMA decided to extend its ultimatum by four weeks at its emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on September 22, 2013.

Following the expiration of the additional four weeks’ grace granted the Federal Government, the NMA again magnanimously extended twice the ultimatum on account of the government’s constitution of a Presidential Committee and promised to speedily resolve the issues contained in the requests of the NMA.

Sadly, since the report of the Presidential Committee was submitted to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, only the re-constitution and inauguration of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has been realised. The inauguration of MDCN, which took place on November 25, 2013, was even after the government reneged on an earlier signed agreement with NMA to reconstitute and inaugurate MDCN within 21 days (that is, by September 30, 2013).

The Association noted its patriotic efforts to further engage the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health (following the invitation of the Minister of Health to a meeting) even at the 11th hour but it collapsed following the unserious attitude of the leadership of the Ministry, who seems less bordered about the potential crisis that was bound to erupt from Saturday, December 14, 2013.

In recognition of the extremely poor progress in the resolution of the demands of the NMA and following the expiration of its last ultimatum issued to the Federal Government, which expired on Saturday, December 14, 2013, the NMA is constrained to declare an industrial action with effect from Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Accordingly, doctors in public health institutions shall withdraw their services with effect from 8 a.m. on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.

In recognition of the Yuletide and appeals from well-meaning Nigerians and our friends in the fourth estate of the realm, the withdrawal of services in this first instance shall be for a period of five days but shall recommence after the Yuletide. We call on members of the public and the media to bear with the Association during this period of withdrawal of services.”

In recognition of the fact that achieving Universal Health Coverage was fundamental to ensuring adequate healthcare for Nigerians, the NMA bemoaned the abysmal low percentage of health coverage of Nigerians put at about six per cent and called on government to urgently invest more in the health of Nigerians through a Universal Health Fund”.

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