The leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has been closely monitoring the lingering crisis between membership of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), an affiliate of NMA, and the Federal Government on issues bordering on poor state of health of Nigerians and welfare of our members.
2. The poor state of our health institutions has not been in doubt as demonstrated by the World Health Organisation ranking the Nigerian Health System as number 187 among 191 countries in 2015. The repeated patronage of foreign hospitals by our top government officials and increasing medical tourism to hospitals overseas by well to do Nigerians.
3. The NMA, as the umbrella body of all doctors in Nigeria and the custodian of the people’s health, has been earnestly mediating between the government and NARD to end the lingering crisis by putting the Nigerian health system back on the path to development.
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4. The issues in dispute still remain:
(a) Unattractive poor working environment in public hospitals which is continually weakening the health work force through brain drain
b) Renewed efforts to distort the harmony among healthcare workers by some individuals within the Federal Ministry of Health, which is threatening to completely derail the health system
(c) Selective and biased implementation’ of the contents of various government circulars and agreements as they relate to remuneration of doctors, which is a perfect indication of lack of political will to end the prolonged crisis in the health sector
(d) Delay in bringing out a white paper on the various postgraduate medical training programmes in Nigeria. This is indispensable in safeguarding the soul of the Nigerian health system from repeated assaults caused by endless inconsistent self-fulfilling pursuits of certain interests
5. It is important to remind us that the above issues in dispute were already earlier resolved at meetings mediated by the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Honourable Yakubu Dogara, and agreements with time lines for implementation were reached with the Federal Ministry of Health, NARD and the NMA on 14th July, 2016. Regrettably, this agreements and time lines have again been breached by the Federal Ministry of Health.
6. We, therefore, call on the Honourable Minister of Health to urgently and decisively deal with the saboteurs of government policies within the Federal Ministry of Health.
7. While still looking forward to an amicable resolution of the germane issues raised, the NMA demands an immediate withdrawal of the threat as contained in circular no. DHS/828/T/199 of the .19th January, 2017 issued by the Director of Health Services (DHS) of the Federal Ministry of Health to Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals to employ temporary doctors to replace the members of NARD who are currently on a warning strike action to press home their unmet demands.
8. It is expedient that government, works urgently to sincerely address ALL the issues that are responsible for the ongoing crises in the Nigerian healthcare sector to avoid unnecessary loss of lives.
9. The NMA wishes to state explicitly that it will not fold its arms and watch the training of medical specialists and the healthcare system being desecrated by any individual or clique.
10. NMA shall exploit every means within the law to ensure that justice is done and that the Residency Training Prpgramme, all doctors practicing in Nigeria and the welfare of all healthcare workers are treated with the utmost seriousness they deserve.
11. Finally, while closely monitoring the developments as they unfold, the NMA wishes to call on all well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Ministry of Health officials not to further jeopardise the health of Nigerians already burdened with the biting economic recession.
Dr. Mike 0. Ogirima (PRESIDENT)
Dr. Yusuf Tanko Sununu (SECRETARY GENERAL)
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