The federal government yesterday said it has suspended further negotiation with the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), in order to resolve the on-going doctors strike until Presidential committee of Experts on Inter-Professional Relationships in the Public Health Sector finishes its work.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim stated this while receiving members of the committee in his office in Abuja.
Anyim made it clear that the decision of the Federal Government will be hinged on the outcome of the Committees report.
This is coming on the heels of Senate President, David Mark’s remarks yesterday that the NMA will soon call off its seven weeks strike, following a ‘peace meeting’ between government and the leadership of the medical union in Abuja.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to Mark, Paul Mumeh, said this was due to some concessions made to the doctors’ demands by the federal government team led by the Senate President.
It also said the meeting was attended by senators, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, of Delta state, the Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, adding that government complied with a reasonable number of their demands.
To this end, the NMA leadership resolved to brief their members before they will finally call off the strike action in no distant time.
According to the statement, “Indications were that government complied with a reasonable number of their demands, following which they resolved to brief their members before the final decision to call off the action”.
The statement also said the NMA President, Dr. Kayode Obembe, said he would not give the exact date and time when the strike would be called-off until he reports back to his colleagues, since the meeting with the federal government is useful.
The statement also said the NMA would convene stakeholders meeting to determine when the strike would be called off.
Obembe had dismissed the notion in some quarters that the striking doctors abandoned the nation in a trying times of major Heath challenge on account of the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
“There was never a time we refused to respond to the national emergency, we have been alive to our duties as professionals and to our father land”, according to him.
He stressed that doctors were not unmindful of the health challenges faced by the nation at the moment, but needed government to correct some abnormalities in the health sector to make it more effective and responsive to the health care needs of the citizens.
Meanwhile, the statement said Mark, had at the closed door meeting reminded the doctors of the implications of the strike to the health of the citizens if they continue.