STRIKE: Nigerian Medical Doctors Begin Nationwide Strike Wednesday

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The Nigerian Medical Association accused the federal government of ignoring its demands.

Medical doctors nationwide will go on strike from
Wednesday, the
Nigerian Medical Association announced Sunday, warning Nigerians of a
fresh round of health sector crisis that would keep the hospitals shut
as Nigerians prepare for Christmas.

The NMA said doctors will suspend work as the ultimatum issued to the Federal Government has elapsed.

The NMA’s ultimatum to the FG to comply with earlier agreements on
issues of condition of service and welfare of doctors expired Saturday,
December 14 with the government ignoring the doctors, the NMA.

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A spokesperson for the health minister could not be immediately reached for comments.
The NMA president, Dr. Osahon Enabulele told PREMIUM TIMES in Minna,
Niger state on Sunday, after the group’s its emergency National
Executive Council meeting, that efforts to engage the Federal Ministry
of Health had failed.

According to the NMA, health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, seems less
bothered about the potential crisis that is about to erupt in the
country’s health sector as Nigerians prepare for Christmas celebrations.

He said the minister refused to attend meetings they proposed to resolve the several concerns.
“In recognition of the extremely poor progress in the resolution of
the demands of the NMA, and following the expiration of her last
ultimatum issued to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which expired on
Saturday, December 14, 2013, the NMA is constrained to declare an
industrial action with effect from Wednesday, December 18, 2013,” Mr.
Enabulele said.

“Accordingly, doctors in public health institutions shall withdraw
their services with effect from 8am on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.”

He however said the strike will be for five days- until December
23rd, in the first instance, but will continue after Christmas

“In recognition of the yuletide season and the appeals of
well-meaning Nigerians and our friends in the fourth estate of the
realm, the withdrawal of services in this first instance shall be for a
period of five days but shall recommence after the yuletide season,” he

“We call on members of the public and the media to bear with the association during this period of withdrawal of services.”

The NMA has been engaged in a series of unsuccessful negotiations with the federal government in the past five months.

On the 2nd September, 2013, the NMA issued a 21-day ultimatum to the
government to address the outstanding issues of doctors’ welfare, and
conditions of service.

However, after the intervention of the minister of labour and
productivity, Emeka Wogu, the NMA extended its ultimatum by four weeks
at her emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja
on September 22, 2013.

Following the expiration of the additional four weeks of grace, the
union again extended the ultimatum twice on account of the government’s
constitution of a presidential committee which promised to speedily
resolve the issues contained in the requests of the NMA.

But the government has failed to take a decision after the committee
submitted its report to the Secretary to the Government of the
Federation. The only outstanding issue addressed yet by the government
was the re-constitution and inauguration of the Medical and Dental
Council of Nigeria (MDCN). That tool place on 25th November, 2013.



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