This Day (Lagos)

16 December 2013

Nigeria: Doctors Begin Strike in Public Hospitals On Wednesday

Photo: Daily Trust
Nigeria hospital strike

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Sunday said its members would embark on strike in public health institutions with effect from Wednesday.

The association said this in a communique it issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Minna, the Niger State Capital.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the meeting was held alongside an Emergency Delegates Meeting and the First Senator Dalyop Dantong Memorial Lecture from December 8 to 15. The communiqué, which was signed by the NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said the intended industrial action would be for five days, after which it would recommence after the yuletide season.

It said the action, which NMA said it was "constrained in taking," was as a result of the failure of government authorities to respond to its demands. "This will be in recognition of the extremely poor progress in the resolution of the demands of the NMA, and following the expiration of our last ultimatum issued to the federal government, which expired on Saturday, December 14, 2013," the communique said. It stated that doctors in public health institutions would consequently withdraw their services with effect from 8a.m. on December.

The NMA then urged members of the public and the media to "bear with the association during this period of withdrawal of services."

On September 2, the association had issued a 21-day ultimatum to the federal government to address the issues it tabled before it.

The issues had bordered on what the association said was some health sector challenges, workplace conditions and the condition of service of doctors.

However, the NMA had decided to extend her ultimatum by four weeks after her emergency NEC meeting held in Abuja on September 22.

Following the expiration of the four-week extension, the association had twice extended the ultimatum on account of government's constitution of a Presidential Committee.

Government had also promised to 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 (SGF), only the re-constitution and inauguration of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) had been realised.

"Our demand for government's attention to other issues bordering on workplace conditions and injustice meted out to doctors in their conditions of service and funding, infrastructure and equipment upgrade of the health sector have not received any significant attention," the association said in the communique.

In the communique, the NMA had also decried the abysmal low percentage health coverage of Nigerians. It called on government to urgently invest more in the health of Nigerians through a Universal Health Fund.

The NMA had also restated the urgent need for a government-sponsored Hospital Development and Intervention Fund in the health. "This will help to drive the development of modern and world-class health infrastructure in Nigeria and end medical tourism," the association had said.

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