The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has announced plan to embark on an indefinite strike, starting from today, July 1.
This is coming at the heel of the two weeks’ ultimatum handed the federal government by the association; to either meet up with delayed agreements or face a full scale industrial action.
The association had made a number of crucial and urgent demands which bordered on: doctor’s welfare; reinforcing state of orderliness in the sector in order to avoid anarchy; passage of National Health Bill and extension of health coverage to cover 100% of Nigerians cum urgent call for the appointment of a Surgeon General of the federation.
In a press briefing, yesterday, the NMA President, Dr. Kayode Obembe, revealed that the association had held an emergency meeting, June 28, and has decided to opt for a total and indefinite strike after further negotiations with the federal government had proved abortive.
“The NMA is taking this painful route because our silence and gentle approach to these contending issues have been taken for granted…, We have to take this action in order to save the health care delivery system from anarchy that is palpably imminent”, Obembe said.
The association however appealed for understanding, and called on Nigerians to prevail on the government to meet its demands and tackle the challenges in the sector.
The NMA president read out an open letter addressed to the Secretary to the government of the federation in which the association listed the 24 issues it wanted the government to address.
The letter, entitled, “Minimum End Point for Restoration of Sustainable Sanity in Patient Care in Nigerian Hospitals’’, was jointly signed by Obembe, NMA Secretary-General, Dr Adewumi Alayaki and all heads of its affiliate bodies.
Some of the major issues include reserving the position of chief medical director to only medical doctors, appointment of Surgeon General of the Federation, passage of National Health Bill and providing security for doctors.