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‘It’ll destroy health sector’ — NMA asks FG to rethink ‘no work, no pay’ policy

A doctor holding a patient file A doctor holding a patient file

The federal capital territory chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has urged the federal government to reconsider its “no work, no pay” policy against medical workers.

The call by the association was made in collaboration with the Nasarawa and Kogi states chapters at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja, according to NAN.

The federal government had ordered the stoppage of the payment of salaries of members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) following their strike over unresolved welfare issues.

The government said it invoked the policy to ensure that members of the association are not paid during the period of the strike, and to deter other health workers.

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Charles Ugwuanyi, chairman of NMA-FCT, condemned the decision, saying the policy “will further destroy the sector”.

Ugwuanyi noted that if the government goes on with the plan, it will further heighten the dearth of doctors in the country.

He said NARD is only demanding for its rights.

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He said at the moment, Nigeria has less than 25,000 registered practising doctors, adding that government must find a way to encourage doctors to stay in the country.

The NMA-FCT chairman also called on governments at different levels to take the safety of workers seriously.

The association commiserated with the Lagos state government over the death of Dwaere Viaso, a medical doctor who died in an elevator accident.

“The reason why most of us are dressed in black is not far fetched, we are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the NMA Lagos state branch,” he said.

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“As you are aware in the last one week, the media space has been filled with the news of a sad development, a young doctor, a house officer on duty, was trapped in a lift and she collapsed and died.

“We are all in mourning, while we pray for the repose of her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, we want to send a message out there.

“We at the NMA, we are indeed not happy with the poor working conditions, which on this occasion has resulted in the death of this young star with a very bright future.

“We are calling on the relevant authorities, government at different levels managing the different hospitals, to take safety in the working environment seriously.

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“We enjoin all our members across the country, to take this message to the different levels of government.”

‘FG SHOULD DIALOGUE WITH NARD’

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Peter Attah, NMA chairman in Nasarawa, also said the ‘no work, no pay’ policy would not yield any good, but would rather crumble service delivery.

Attah called for dialogue between the federal government and the association, in the interest of the health sector.

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“We are disappointed by the approach and the direction the FG is actually taking on the matter. NARD’s demands are germane, we urge the government to reconsider its decision and and dialogue,” he said.

“The 36 states chairmen and FCT are fully giving our backing and support to the NARD struggle, and we will continue to remain with them because they are our members, and we will not allow any of our members to be victimised.”

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