After over one month of protracted national industrial action embarked on by the Nigerian Doctors, the Federal government yesterday took the bull by the horn, with a directive placing all resident doctors on indefinite suspension
Health Minister, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu was given a directive by the federal government to suspend indefinitely all Residency training programmes in the federal hospitals.
The Nigerian doctors have been on national strike for 45 days now, even amidst the unfortunate outbreak of the Ebola disease, which requires their presence as natural leaders at the hospital.
Lamenting the scenario, federal government said, “It is quite regrettable that people, who should take leadership role in the fight against Ebola disease are now the most unsupportive. All efforts by the government to contain this disease are being frustrated by the continued industrial strike action of the NMA.”
“Federal government also regrets that at such a time, when the country is in dire need of medical emergency, doctors have shunned the oath to first protect lives, and have increasingly become insensitive to the plight of the nation. This strike action can be considered as one of the most insensitive steps to be taken by any association or labour union in the history of this country”, it said.
In a statement issued yesterday, by the Deputy Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Isiaka Yusuf, The federal government had expressed sadness on how the Nigerian Medical Association had refused to keep to its promise to call of the strike, even after meeting about 90% of its demand.
As stated, “It should be stressed that the Federal Government has implemented more than 90% of its responsibilities as signed by both parties. At the conclusion of each meeting, the NMA would promise to call off strike, but would return another day to say that they could not.”
The Federal government explained that, it had called on highly influential personalities; even involving the senate to prevail on the striking doctors; while also paying their salaries and allowances for the month, which they did not work for, all to appeal to their sense of reasoning but to no avail.
Also yesterday the minister of health in Abuja said another Nigerian doctor has tested positive to the deadly Ebola disease.
The doctor’s case increases the number of people infected with the disease to 11, including the three confirmed deaths. One of the earlier confirmed infections was also a doctor.
“The total number of confirmed cases is 11, out of this 11, three are dead. The three that are dead are: the index case, a Liberian-American; a Nigerian nurse who was among those that managed the index case; and a Nigerian who was serving as a protocol officer with the ECOWAS,” Chukwu said.
However, few minutes after the minister’s briefing, it was reported that another nurse that treated the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, died on Thursday morning at the Lagos hospital where those being quarantined are kept.
The two infected doctors also treated Mr. Sawyer.
Chukwu also said that more than half of the eight people quarantined are doing well and showing signs of recovery.
Altogether, the minister also said that 169 people are still under surveillance: 163 in Lagos and 6 in Enugu. The 169 is a downslide from 198 previously under surveillance, indicating some of those under surveillance, including 15 in Enugu, have been discharged.
Those under surveillance in Enugu are those believed to have had contact with a nurse who escaped quarantine in Lagos and travelled to Enugu to meet her husband.
Chukwu said the nurse and her husband were moved in a special ambulance to the Lagos treatment Centre, insisting that the disease has not spread to Enugu.
He also said that an experimental drug, NanoSilver, provided by a Nigerian scientist, will hopefully reach the treatment centre on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a suspected case of Ebola has been reported in IIorin, Kwara State where the suspected patient, a seven months old child from Ibadan has been diagnosed of symptom related to Ebola.
The child was admitted in a private hospital along Surulere area, Ilorin for Malaria and later referred to Kiddis private hospital while the patient symptom persisted.
Briefing Journalists on Thursday, the Chairman of Kwara State Government Committee on Ebola Virus Control, Prevention and Monitoring, Prof. Sunday Opabola who is also Senior Special Assistance to the Governor on Primary Health said the patient’s blood samples have been taken and transferred to Lagos state for proper diagnosis on Ebola virus.
He said the patient was admitted to a private clinic on 10th of August, 2014 and later referred to Kiddies Hospital when the child had not shown any improvement.
According to him, the proprietor of Kiddies Hospital, a Physiatrist diagnosed the patient and discovered symptom related to that of Ebola.