Nigerian doctors suspend 55-day-old strike; ...resume today

Members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have suspended their 55-day-old strike.

President of the association, Dr Kayode Obembe, made the announcement at a media briefing at the end of the delegates’ emergency meeting of the association, in Abuja, on Sunday.

The strike, according to the NMA president, was suspended as its response to the disease burdens, sufferings and aspirations of ordinary Nigerians.

Other reasons for the suspension of the strike, according to him, included “intervention of the Senate President, National Assembly, various organs of government and other well-meaning Nigerians.”

He disclosed that “delegates resolved to suspend the strike in the interest of urgent national emergencies, while negotiations continue.”

Consequently, the NMA directed all doctors to resume duty at their working posts with effect from 0800hours of today.

The NMA, began the nationwide strike on July 1, 2014.

The doctors expected the Federal Government to meet a 24-point demand before its members would return to work.

President Goodluck Jonathan, two weeks ago, directed the suspension of all residency training programme and the hiring of part-time medical officers.

According to the NMA president, “delegates demand the immediate withdrawal of the circular (Reference No. C3132/v/46 of August 13, 2014) suspending the residency training programme and sack of over 16,000 resident doctors, who constitute about 70 per cent of doctors’ workforce in Nigeria.”

The NMA, therefore, urged the government, on its part, to reciprocate its goodwill in ensuring that resident doctors, whose appointments were recently terminated, are reinstated immediately without any punitive measure.
“The NMA remains committed to the health of Nigerians and will not renege in its resolve and total support for the government in the effort to provide quality, affordable and access health services for Nigerian people,” Obembe said.
The NMA, therefore, mandated its state Ebola monitoring committees to continue to liaise with respective state governments to immediately set up emergency response teams for the prevention and treatment of any outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in their states.
Speaking on the strike, Obembe said “our demands are centered on the improvement of the structure and traditions of our noble profession. These are categorised into two; the areas that deal with clinical governance and the areas that deal with redress of injustice.

“In the area that deal with clinical governance, we have been able to extract from the government various circulars. For example, circulars have now been issued that only doctors whose degrees are registered with the Nigerian Medical Council can be given the title of consultants.

“We have been able to extract also that the post of Deputy Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) has been restated. We can also tell you confidently that the government has no plan to repeal or redress the Act establishing the position of Chief Medical Directors.

“Where injustice has been meted out to our members, we have been able to extract from the government that arrears of relativity will be paid. And they have started paying. Two months of salary of relativity have been paid.

“This is the beginning of redress of injustice which we have been encountering for the past 22 years.”


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