The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said it will embark on a nationwide indefinite strike to press home its demands if government fail to adhere to previous agreements reached with it.
It also gave the government a 14-day ultimatum to show commitment in meeting its demands or risk overhauling medical services across the country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, NMA President, Dr. Lawrence Obembe, warned against the proliferation of directorates in hospitals, arguing that it would set a wrong trend in the administration of hospitals in the country.
In a letter addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the association listed 23 key areas the government must address, failure, which will lead to doctors all over the country withdrawing their services.
The letter which was signed by Obembe and the NMA Secretary General, Dr. Adewunmi Alayaki, observed that the association “is opposed to the appointments of directors in the hospitals. This position distorts the chain of command in the hospital, induces anarchy and exposes the patients to conflicting treatment and management directives with attendant negative consequences.”
The association also demanded that “Grade Level 12 (CONMESS 2) in the health sector must be skipped for medical doctors; hazard allowance must be at least N100,000 per month for medical doctors and immediate withdrawal of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circular authorising the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) to approve licences for the importation of In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs).”
According to Obembe, “In the light of the foregoing, therefore, the NMA hereby gives government 14-days to meet all her demands as stated above or have her members called out for a resumption of the total and indefinite withdrawal of service which was suspended on January 5, 2014.”
He went on to explain that, “the NMA is taking this painful route because our silence and gentle approach to these contending issues have been taken for granted” by the government.
The NMA first Vice-President, Dr. Titus Ibekwe, likewise told journalists that the new move by the association was meant to reposition the health sector as failure to take action will instead lead to deterioration of the situation in the nation’s health sector.
Ibekwe further maintained that government needed to come to terms with the demands put forward by the NMA given that the demands formed part of previous agreements it (government) consented to during the harmonisation meeting.