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Published On: Sun, Aug 24th, 2014

55 days after. . . Doctors suspend strike

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  • Demand recall of 16, 000 sacked colleagues 

By Doyin Ojosipe

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has called-off its nationwide indefinite strike after 55 days of total industrial action.

The confirmation to this effect was made yesterday afternoon by the NMA National President, Dr. Kayode Obembe after an Emergency Delegates Meeting (EDM). Briefing newsmen yesterday, Dr. Obembe said it was necessary, following the emergency of Ebola outbreak in the country, adding that the association’s resolve to call-off its longest strike ever embarked upon was to enable doctors  respond to the disease burdens, sufferings and aspirations of ordinary Nigerians.

The Association had called for a total and indefinite national strike, July 1st, after handing the federal government, a 24-point demand as ultimatum, which they said must be met or face the industrial action.

It was gathered that the meeting, which was attended by the National President of National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) Dr. Jubril Abdullahi featured a heated debate, before it was finally resolved that the strike precipitated on a 24 point demands should be suspended.

Consequently, Dr. Obembe directed all doctors in the state and Federal owned hospitals to resume their duty today.

The prolonged strike action had drawn a lot of criticisms from both Nigerian populace and other health workers, who said the doctors were being greedy and selfish.

Dr. Obembe revealed that an emergency meeting was held at the weekend.

He said the association further demanded that the federal government withdraw its recent action of mass sack of resident doctors, adding that they form about 70% of doctors workforce and can’t be cheaply displaced.

“Delegates demand the  immediate withdrawal of the government circular suspending the residency training program and the sacking of over 16, 000 resident doctors, who constitute about 70% of doctors workforce in Nigeria”, it stated.

It would be recalled that while the strike lasted, the Federal Government announced the sack of 16,000 resident doctors and cancelled residency programmes.

The development sparked off protest in some state chapters of NMA, including Lagos, Ogun and Oyo.

The association also urged the federal government to commend its kind gestures by allowing resident doctors resume their work without any punitive measures.

The association’s president also confirmed that while other pressing issues have been met, others are still on the negotiation process.

“Circulars have been issued that only doctors whose degrees are registrable with the Nigerian Medical Council can use the title consultant and also, we have been able to extract that the post of deputy chairman, Medical Advisory Committee has been reinstated”, he said.

The Association further commended the Federal and Lagos state governments on efforts made so far to contain the Ebola outbreak in the country.

Last week also featured series of meetings between the NMA leadership and Senate President, David Mark, in which the outcome suggested possibility of the strike being called-off.

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