Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:09 pm
Kazeem Ugbodaga –
Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan has sacked all resident doctors in all federal government hospitals across the nation for not teaming up with government to fight the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, in the country.
A statement from the Federal Ministry of Health said the action was taken to enable government appraise the challenges in the health sector in a bid to fight the Ebola scourge.
The statement signed by Alhaji Isiaka Yusuf, Deputy Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria said the resident doctors had been frustrating the move by the government to curtail the Ebola virus from spreading.
According to the statement, the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, made good its threat of 11 June, 2014 by calling out its members on industrial action on 1 July, 2014 despite the Federal Government’s successive intervention meetings and dialogue including extensive deliberations with the leadership of the NMA on 25 and 26 June 2014, where agreements were reached on each of the 24 demands and a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties.
It said in the midst of the strike, the government had also cultivated the attention and intervention of some eminent personalities in order to prevail on the NMA leadership to respect the ethics of their profession and end the strike whilst the dialogue was ongoing, adding that some of the personalities included the Governor of Delta State, the Secretary to Government of the Federation, members of the National Assembly, among others.
The government stressed that it has implemented more than 90 percent of its responsibilities as signed by both parties, adding that at the conclusion of each meeting, the NMA promised to call off the strike but would return another day to say that they could not.
“For the whole of July 2014, these doctors did not work yet government, owing to the emergency situation in our country, paid them the July salaries with allowances such as call duty allowance, teaching allowance, hazard allowance, etc, believing that this magnanimity of government would appeal to reason for NMA to call off the strike.
“This strike can be considered as one of the most insensitive steps to be taken by any association or a labour union in the history of this country. Pertinent to the issue under discussion are the current security challenges in the country with the attendant mass casualties. The situation has been compounded by the recent importation of the Ebola Virus Disease into Nigeria on 20 July, 2014.
“Following the Presidential declaration of a National Public Health Emergency on Ebola Disease which has united the entire country in the efforts to contain the disease, it is quite regrettable that the people who should take leadership role in the fight against Ebola disease are now the most unsupportive. All efforts by Government to contain this disease are being frustrated by the continued industrial strike action of the NMA,” it lamented.
The statement added that “the Federal Government has therefore decided that Residency Training Programme in Federal Government Hospitals be suspended pending the conclusion of the ongoing appraisal of the challenges in the health sector.
“This directive is without prejudice to any emergency measure that may be necessary for the hospital management to immediately restore full medical services. The Federal Government wishes to reassure the public that optimal medical health care delivery will be sustained in our hospitals.
The prolonged strike had also witnessed the resignation of the NMA president, Dr. Kayode Obembe, after his statement calling off the strike was countermanded by other officers of the association.