Friday, August 15, 2014

President Goodluck Jonathan sacks striking doctors

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has fired thousands of doctors who have been taking part in weeks of strikes, amid warnings that West Africa's Ebola outbreak continues to escalate.

Jonathan ordered the dismissal of around 16,000 doctors in an internal memo to the Health Ministry, local newspaper Premium Times reported on Friday.

Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu instructed that "letters of termination" be issued immediately to all affected resident doctors in hospitals.

The move allows the Health Ministry to "make internal arrangements to get alternative doctors to cater for patients," said Health Ministry spokesman Isiaka Yusuf.

Doctors and nurses in public hospitals across the country of 169 million people have taken part in work stoppages since July 1 and are refusing to return to work until their working conditions and salaries improve.

The strike is severely hampering efforts to curb the epidemic.

Nigerian authorities on Friday announced a new confirmed Ebola case, raising the overall number in Africa's most populous state to 11.

Three people have died of Ebola in Nigeria, and 169 others are under surveillance, according to the Health Ministry.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that a "massive scaling up of the international response" is necessary to get the outbreak under control.

By August 13, 1975 cases and 1069 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Sky News

Related stories: Patients dying as Nigeria's doctors strike continues

Video - Nigeria's medical sector goes on strike

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