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NMA seeks governors’ intervention over ‘poor welfare of doctors’

NMA seeks governors’ intervention over ‘poor welfare of doctors’
September 07
23:10 2021

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has asked the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to ensure improved welfare of health workers in the country. 

Resident doctors across the country have been on strike since August 2, over alleged irregular payment of salaries, among other issues. 

The NMA has also threatened to join the NARD strike if the government fails to address the issues raised by the resident doctors.

In June, over 100 doctors resigned in Ondo over salary issues. 

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In a communique signed on Tuesday by Innocent Ujah and Philips Ekpe, NMA president and secretary-general, respectively, the association also called on the council of traditional rulers and the Nigeria Inter-religious Council to urgently intervene before the situation escalates.

The association said it may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony if the federal government fails to pay the salary arrears owed to doctors in some states.

“Council viewed with deep concern the poor welfare of its members in Abia, Imo, Ekiti, Ondo and Anambra States, where monthly salaries ranging from four to 20 months remain unpaid resulting in suffering and deprivation,” the communique reads. 

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“Council also notes with dismay the impact of the withdrawal of healthcare service delivery in these states including the training of medical students at the states’ teaching hospitals.

“The Association calls on the National Economic Council (NEC), the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), National Council of Traditional Rulers, and the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council.

“It also calls on other stakeholders to as a matter of urgency intervene now before the matter escalates, as the NMA may no longer guarantee industrial harmony if the salary arrears are not paid in the shortest possible time.”

The association criticised what it described as the federal government’s “slow progress” in developing a new hazard allowance scheme for health workers commensurate with the level of risks in the health sector.

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The association also described the circulars removing house officers and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) doctors from the scheme of service as “provocative”.

“The NMA rejects these circulars and advises the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) to take immediate steps to withdraw them,” the association said. 

“The association vowed to explore all legal avenues to reverse some of the federal government’s decisions concerning medical professionals in academia.

“Council observes the exclusion of holders of Medical Fellowship from vying for Vice Chancellorship positions in some universities. The exclusion is being done on the premise that medical fellowship is a professional qualification and not a degree equivalent to a PhD.

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“Council notes with pride that the curriculum content of the fellowship programmes, which encompasses both academic and professional aspects, exceed any other curriculum for postgraduate programmes in Nigeria.

“The council vows to pursue this matter using all lawful means to reverse the unfair disenfranchisement of its members in the academia from attaining the apex of academic leadership position.”

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