Looming Doctors’ Strike May Not Hold – FG

There are indications that the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, may not go ahead with its planned strike, following a meeting between the officials of the association and some top government officials.

Rising from a 9-hour meeting in Abuja, the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, said that the Federal Government had fruitful discussions with officials of the Nigerian Medical Association and that the planned strike was no longer necessary.

“The purpose of the meeting is to avert the other strike which they (NMA) have given notice (of), and we held a successful meeting from yesterday up till this morning.”

The Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, also corroborated the claims: “The resolutions were mutually accepted, and they promised to talk to their members with a view to averting the strike. We hope that will come to past.”

The NMA President, Doctor Osahon Enabulele, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, said that the organisation has indeed reached some understanding with the government.

He added that the government’s positions were subject to its members’ consideration, as the issues discussed at the closed door meeting would be presented before the emergency National Executive Committee meeting of the association.

The NMA had embarked on a 5-day warning strike in December 2013 to protest issues bothering on some health sector challenges, workplace condition of service for doctors and funding infrastructure and equipment upgrade of the nation’s health sector.

Uduaghan On Strike  

Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, who also attended the meeting, said that the Federal Government would not allow the proposed strike by the Nigerian Medical Association to hold.

Speaking to Channels Television’s State House Correspondent shortly after holding the consultative meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential villa, the Governor said that President Jonathan had just constituted a strong negotiating team from the government’s side to meet with the national officers of the NMA, with a view to halting the looming nationwide strike.

He said that President Jonathan had looked at the issues raised by the doctors, adding that they were going to hold another meeting with the doctors’ leadership.

According to him, it is the determination of government to ensure that the strike scheduled for January 6, is averted.

Medical Association Scores Nigeria Low On Health Sector Performance

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said that the aggregate performance of Nigeria’s health sector in 2013 was not remarkably different from that of 2012 despite some efforts made to address the challenges carried over from 2012.

In an assessment report on Nigeria’s health sector performance in 2013, the association said that the poor performance was as a result of the unsatisfactory amount allocated to the health sector in the 2013 National budget and the slow process of release of funds.

The assessment report issued by the president of the association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, also emphasised that the non-passage of the National Health Bill with fundamental provisions for financing the health of Nigerians, the long delay in inaugurating the Governing Board of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the inexplicable delay in appointing a substantive Executive Secretary of NHIS slowed down efforts at expanding Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.

On HIV/AIDS, the report says, “Nigeria still has a lot to do in the fight against HIV/AIDS. There should be better strategies of securing improved results in efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in 2014.”

The assessment report stated that there was no appreciable breakthrough in operational research; a development it pointed out was unconnected with the fact that Nigeria still had no strategic research policy.

“Nigeria does not consider research as a necessary tool for national development. Investment in research by government, corporate bodies and individuals is still at low ebb in Nigeria such that potential Nigerian researchers and inventors are enveloped in a state of diffidence. Those who have the capacity to sponsor research in Nigeria do not believe in it,” the report read.

In terms of infrastructural development in the Nigeria’s health institutions, the assessment stated that the year 2013 witnessed some efforts to upgrade existing federal health infrastructure and equipment with the aim of improving the capacity of the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions.

It said that it had become a status symbol for Nigerians to travel abroad for treatment, a development attributed to poor medical infrastructure.

The medical association, however, pointed out that it was not all gloomy in the health sector in 2013, as there were some progressive developments; like the eventual reconstitution and inauguration of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and other Health Professional Regulatory Councils.

Low Political commitment

It stated that that the developments were as a result of the agitations and committed efforts of the NMA in areas Kidney transplantation, Stem cell transplantation and Cardiac surgeries.

Other achievements in the sector were the launching of more Community Based Social Health Insurance Schemes in various Nigerian communities, including the Federal Capital Territory.

The association urged the Nigerian government to truly take matters concerning healthcare more seriously and allocate more funds to the health sector in addition to firmly instituting Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements in the hospitals/health institutions or the outright outsourcing of some services such as pharmacy, radiography, physiotherapy among others.

It also stated that the low level of political commitment to healthcare by most governments in Nigeria, especially as depicted by the frequent travels abroad by political and public office holders to seek medical care.

The association stressed the need for constitutional and legal framework for health in Nigeria, particularly a National Health Act that would clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the Local, State and Federal Governments with respect to the three levels of healthcare, clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals.

 

NMA Warning Strike Is Illegal, Ill-Advised – Oshiomhole

As the strike by the Nigerian Medical Association enters its second day, Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has described it as illegal, ill advised, and blackmail on the leadership of the country.

Governor Oshiomhole, who was also a labour leader, said that the decision by the NMA that all its affiliate bodies join the strike negates all known labour law.

Governor Oshiomhole said this on Thursday when he met with leaders of the state medical practitioners union in the Edo State Government House, Benin.

He further stated that if the state practitioners joined the strike on the basis of solidarity, then their counterparts in private establishments should as well join the strike, adding that it is a calculated attempt to enrich private hospitals at the detriment of patients who may not be able to afford them.

He said that the state may be forced to enforce the ‘no work no pay’ policy if they do not rethink their decision in the light of the irreparable loss the strike would bring.

Governor Oshiomhole also added that whatever the specifics are, it bothers on abuse of vantage power to hold the Federal Government to ransom in the manner that the NMA has done, and by the national law under essential services, the strike is illegal.

The Chairman of the Association of Resident Doctors who led the delegation said that the facts presented by the governor will be discussed in their next general meeting.

Group Calls For Appraisal Of Nigeria’s Healthcare System

Osahon Enebulele.
National President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Osahon Enabulele

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for a more critical appraisal of the primary and secondary healthcare systems as part of efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals as it affects health services.

At a news conference in Abuja ahead of the 2013 Physicians Week, the President of the association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said that the myriad of challenges confronting the nation’s healthcare system and the poor coordination of primary and secondary healthcare systems had become worrisome.

Dr Enabulele also used the occasion to appeal to the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government of Nigeria to return to the round table, resume negotiations and find a common ground to resolve the dispute which has kept students at home.

 

NMA Mourns With Edo State On Demise Of Prof. Omoruyi

The Nigerian Medical Association has expressed its condolence to the Edo state government following the death of the former Director-General of the Centre for Democratic Studies, Prof. Omo Omoruyi, who was reported to have died in a private hospital in Benin City, after a courageous battle with prostate cancer.

In a statement made available to Channels Television, the president of the association, Osahon Enabulele, stated that the information was received with ‘great pain and distress.’

Enabule, who mourned the loss of the foremost Professor of Political science, expressed gratitude for Omoruyi’s life and his “indelible footprints in the sands of time.”

In his words, Omoruyi “showed uncommon courage in his inspirational struggle against prostate cancer” and noted “his determination to demystify the dreaded prostate cancer which is currently the leading cancer afflicting men.”

The statement further stated that “The circumstances surrounding Prof. Omo Omoruyi’s death once again reinforces the NMA’s call on Nigerians and governments at all levels to collaborate with the Association in the aggressive pursuit of her “Healthy Living And Regular Health Check-Up Campaign.”

The association called on Nigerians to cultivate the right habit of regularly consulting their licensed and duly registered medical doctor/dentist for periodic health check-ups in view of its benefits, which includes prevention and early detection of all forms of cancers and sudden deaths amongst Nigeria’s male and female population.

The NMA also advised Federal and State Governments to join the league of countries and governments currently involved in the active search for more effective and permanent solutions to the dreaded scourge of cancer. This they can do by investing more resources into researches aimed at producing a cure for advanced stages of prostate cancer and other forms of cancer.

The group called on the Governor of Edo State, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, to immortalise the legacies of Prof. Omo Omoruyi, by implementing a 3 day free health check-up programme tagged ‘’Prof.Omo Omoruyi free health check-up day’’.

“We equally call on other State Governments to institute similar free health check-up day for citizens of their respective states, at least once a year, and laced with some incentives to encourage them to buy into the project,” the statement read.

 

 

NMA Offers To Help Ascertain Suntai’s Health Status

The Nigerian Medical Association has offered to constitute a board to ascertain the true health status of the Taraba state governor, Danbaba Suntai.

After its national executive council meeting in Abuja, the NMA president, Mr Osahon Onabulele said the proposed board would make available experts to put an end to the lingering political crisis in the state.

The NMA also urged the National Assembly to urgently establish the office of the surgeon-general of Nigeria, who can independently assess the medical fitness of public and political office holders.

The association gave the federal government a 21-day ultimatum with effect from Monday, the 2nd of September 2013, to address the challenges surrounding the nation’s health sector, including the non-payment of wages to doctors and health workers.

Doctor’s Assault: NMA Orders Doctors To Withhold Services In Borno

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has ordered all doctors with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, to immediately “withdraw their practice until such a time when the security and safety of all health workers and properties in the hospital can be guaranteed by the federal government.”

NMA gave the directive following a reported attack on medical practitioners with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital by officers of the Nigerian Police Force over the inability of the hospital morgue to accommodate the bodies of slain police men brought in from Bama town.

The NMA in a statement by its President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, condemned the attack which it described as “unwarranted brutality and assault of doctors and other health workers” of the teaching hospital.

According to the statement, NMA claimed that mayhem was unleashed on health workers, including the Acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital as well as patients, some of whom sustained various degrees of injuries.

The Borno state branch of NMA and NMA affiliate bodies are however advised to put in place special arrangements to safely attend to in-patients, particularly critically ill patients during this difficult period.

Nigeria Has Highest TB Disease Burden In Africa – NMA

The Nigerian Medical Association on Sunday released a press statement calling on the Federal Government to make the fight against Tuberculosis one of its Centenary anniversary projects by massively investing in TB research activities towards the discovery of the much needed anti-TB vaccine.

As part of the group’s efforts to mark the 2013 World Tuberculosis Day, themed ‘In My Life Time,’ the President of the association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele said different stakeholders in the society need to wake up to the reality that Nigeria has the highest TB disease burden in Africa and 10th largest in the whole world.

“We therefore call on the federal government to accord top priority to budgetary allocations to the health sector by complying with the Abuja declaration of 2001 by allocating the prescribed 15% of Nigeria’s national budget to health care. This we believe, with sanity in public spending, would help to positively address many if not all, of Nigeria’s diseases of public health concern that continue to denigrate the image of our beloved country, Nigeria.” The statement read.

According to the 2012 global TB report, considerable progress has been made all over the world despite the insurgence of HIV/AIDS considered hitherto as a major impediment to the control efforts.

However, the statement disclosed that “communal violence, sectoral clashes, various forms of insurgences, natural disasters and deleterious effects of climate change, unhealthy living conditions; tend to paint a sordid picture for the future of anti-TB campaign in reality.”

Dr. Enabuelele emphasized the need for the Government to take heed to the slogan ‘Stop Tb In My Life Time’ and called on research organisations to give greater attention to Nigerian prone issues like TB.

Jonathan, Others Condemn Killing Of Health Workers

President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the dastardly attacks in Kano state which claimed the lives of 9 health workers administering polio vaccines to children in the state.

In a statement, the president commiserated with the families of the victims and the government and people of the state.

President Jonathan gave the assurance that that the loss of the health workers will not be in vain as the Federal Government will ensure that the mission to eradicate polio from Nigeria is carried out to a very successful conclusion.

President Jonathan added that the Federal Government will not be distracted from its objective of accelerating the reduction of maternal and child mortality in all parts of Nigeria by mindless acts of terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Health and Chairman Presidential Task Force On Polio Eradication, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate said the health workers died because of their commitment to humanity and the love of their profession.

While commiserating with the families, friends and colleagues of the victims, the Minister stated urged security operatives to launch a large-scale investigation and leave no stone unturned to apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Also, the Nigerian Medical Association has condemned the attack, describing it as an act of murder, especially coming at a time when Nigeria is struggling to leave the list of polio endermic countries.

 

NMA Condemns Call for Removal Of Health Minister

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has criticised the recent call for the removal of the Minister of Health by the Joint Health Sector Workers Union saying it is an attempt to scuttle the passage of the National Health Bill.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the President of NMA, Dr Osahon Enabulele said the protest by the workers union to the national assembly is aimed at intimidating and blackmailing federal lawmakers not to pass the health bill.

Dr Enabulele appealed to Nigerians to shun selfish acts aimed at protecting professional territorial interests as he appealed to the national assembly to pass the bill in order to deliver healthcare dividends to all Nigerians.

Members of the joint health sector workers union had recently protested to the national assembly to demand the removal of the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, over allegations of worsening health services and undue support for medical doctors.

Although the face-off between the workers union and the NMA may not be in the overall interest of Nigerians, the apex body of medical practitioners expressed optimism that the eventual passage of the National Health Bill is a veritable tool for transforming the nation’s healthcare system.

Meeting over Lagos doctor’s strike deadlocked

A meeting to address the on-going crisis in the health sector of Lagos state hit a deadlock over the weekend as all the participants failed to reach a compromise.

The meeting which held at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, was between officials of the Lagos state Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and it was mediated by a committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

The meeting which lasted for over six hours, however failed to produce the needed resolution of the crisis which has led to the dismissal of 783 doctors serving under the employ of the Lagos state government for embarking on an ‘illegal’ strike.

In attendance were Mr G.O.K. Ajay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Mr Taiwo Taiwo on the part of NBA, the Lagos state head of service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and the Vice-chairman of the Lagos NMA, Dr Emene among others.

The meeting has however been adjourned till Tuesday for further discussions.

 

We are not moved by the sack letters – Lagos doctors

It appears that the Lagos state doctors are not bothered by the sack letters issued to them on Monday by the state Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. According to the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA,  “Lagos state is behaving like a 17th century emperor, and such an emperor in 21st century cannot survive.”

“Forget about this sack, we have gone through this place before,  This is a de javu. We are not moved. The person who wrote the sack letters will find a reason to withdraw the sack letter later, ” said Edamisan Temiye, chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State.

At the end of the medical doctors’ congress, Monday, in Lagos, the NMA resolved to set up an ‘Elders Committee’ to meet with the Lagos State government.

“The reaction of Lagos State government to that meeting, what comes out of that meeting will definitely decide the next line of action we are going to take,” said Dr. Temisan.

The association also set up a disciplinary committee to “discipline” medical doctors who are “fighting the battle” from the government side of the divide such as Jide Idris, the state commissioner for Health and Ore Falomo, Chairman of Lagos State Medical Advisory Committee,

“We have set up a disciplinary committee to deal with those doctors who are causing problems for us,” Dr. Temisan said.

As the strike entered its 14th day on Monday, both the Lagos State government and the doctors refused to shift grounds on their demands. The doctors insisted that the state government must implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) among other demands while  the state said it would no longer pay any “fees imposed” by the federal government.

The doctors faulted the government’s moves to recruit new doctors as well as employ ‘locum’ doctors – employing doctors on contract basis saying “Lagos State wants to casualize medical profession…It is an insult to the profession, and we hope that no doctor will fall prey to that because if you fall prey, they will regret it.”