Thursday, December 19, 2013

Video - Nigeria's medical sector goes on strike

Medical workers in Nigeria have begun a five-day warning strike on Wednesday, to force the government to consider its request for needed reforms in sector.

To cushion the effect of the strike however, the management of a National Hospital in Abuja says measures have been put in place to mitigate the effect of the five-day warning strike declared by the leadership of the Nigeria Medical Association.

The spokesman for the hospital, Dr. Tayo Haastrup, said that patients requiring emergency services would be attended to pending the suspension of the strike action.

“Other medical workers are on ground to cushion the effect of the strike,” Dr. Haastrup said.

Resident Doctors in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, are observing the strike.

The Vice Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association of Resident Doctors, CMD Teaching hospital Calabar, Thomas Agan, confirmed that the state chapter of the medical association is solidly in support of the strike, saying it is for the overall good of the health sector.

In Ondo State, medical doctors in public hospitals also complied with the national warning strike.

A visit to the Ondo State Specialist Hospital in Akure by Channels Televisions’ crew revealed that the strike has taken effect. There was absence of a usual busy scene at the premises.

The Doctors were not on duty but Nurses and other supporting staff were on ground to attend to the patients.

The Chairman, Ondo State Chapter of Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Dokun Nuel, described the decision of the Doctors to embark on the strike as unfortunate but maintained that the NMA had twice extended ultimatum given to the Federal Government to meet their demands which were still left unattended to.

There was full compliance in Edo State, as doctors were not present at hospitals visited by Channels Television.

In Edo State, the Vice Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Edo State branch, Dr. Sunday Yerimo, giving reasons for the nationwide industrial action, explained that the Health sector needed revitalisation in order to render quality service to Nigerians.

According to Dr. Yerimo, Nigerian Medical institutions need total transformation.

“Government should provide the needed finances to train workers and upgrade its facilities,” he said.

The Nigeria Medical Association in a communique issued in Minna after its National Executive Council’s meeting said the association was constrained to declare an industrial action with effect from Wednesday, December 18, 2013 in recognition of the extremely poor progress in the resolution of the demands of the association.

The associations last ultimatum issued to the government expired on Saturday, December 14, 2013 and the association is insisting that there is no going back on their demands.

End To Medical Tourism

After the meeting of the union on Sunday the president, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said: “Nigerians need to rise up to their responsibility, demand answers to some of these issues that are confronting our governmental system. We cannot have a government that says they are building up yet they seem to be in slumber over issues that affects fortune, destiny and value of our country.

“We have a responsibility to our members as much as we also have a responsibility to our society. We cannot allow this to continue, we have a limit to issuance of ultimatum otherwise it would seem as if we do not understand the strategy of engagement”, Enabulele appealed to the public.

He further appealed to members of the public to bear with the union during the period of the strike.

The association has bemoaned the abysmal six per cent health coverage of Nigerians and has called on the government to urgently invest more in the health of Nigerians through a Universal Health Fund.

It stressed the need for a government sponsored Hospital Development and Intervention Fund (HDIF) in the health industry to drive the development of modern and world class health infrastructure in Nigeria and put an end to medical tourism.


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