Federal Govt to appoint Surgeon-General of the Federation

President Goodluck Jonathan has bowed to the demands of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) with a view to averting the association’s planned strike on Monday.

One of such major demands is the appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation, which the president has agreed that whoever occupies the position will be responsible for public health.

He equally agreed to address the issue of the call duty allowances of the doctors running into billions of naira.

This was the outcome of the meeting between the President and NMA, which was held yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

A source, who spoke to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting but pleaded anonymity, said government acceded to NMA’s demands for the appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation who must be a medical doctor.

According to him, the association had demanded that the appointee would be responsible for public health.

“The government has taken a decision to appoint a Surgeon-General of the Federation who will be a medical doctor and will be responsible for public health. That appointment will be announced soon,” the source said.
In addition, he said Jonathan had already directed the Ministry of Health to collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and Trade and Investment to consult with medical practitioners with a view to supporting private investors to build state-of-the-art hospitals in the country.

He noted that the decision would promote local potential, strengthen the sector, improve fiscal policy on medical equipment and check the growth of medical tourism.

He said Jonathan had also directed that before any government official is allowed to travel abroad for medical reasons, government must first be satisfied that no such medical services exist in Nigeria.

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), according to him, would be critically looked into by the president to make it more productive.

He said the president asked NMA to make their representation to the Nigeria Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, as requested by the association.

On the doctors’ request for the inclusion of their representatives in the proposed national dialogue, the government was said to have observed that there was no way a conference of such magnitude would hold without the representatives of trade unions.

The government had previously met one of the demands of the NMA by reconstituting the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

A five-day warning strike was embarked upon by NMA in December as a means of pressing home its demands.

Yesterday's meeting was presided over by Jonathan and had in attendance, Vice-President Namadi Sambo; Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State; Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu; Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; Director-General of Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu; and the Chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule, among others.

Credit: Jaiyelola Andrews/ThisDay


  1. Does this mean Mr President will never have consider appointing a surgeon general if the doctors' union have not threaten to go on strike? hmmmnnnn fresh air indeed


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