The Kaduna State Branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has threatened that its members will no longer be available to render emergency call services especially at night and odd hours until what they describe as mindless and senseless killings in the State is urgently addressed.
Addressing a news conference at an emergency meeting, Secretariat in the Kaduna state NMA Chairman, Dr. Stephen Akau, says the apparent targeting of medical doctors and their families for abduction has dampened the morale of his members who no longer feel safe to attend to emergencies at odd hours, especially the recent abduction and killing of the wife of a medical doctor, Philip Ataga from their home by kidnappers.
The association says this will no longer be tolerated, and therefore calls on the government to as a matter of urgency rescue the two abducted children of the medical doctor who are still being held by the kidnappers.
The association notes that the worsening state of insecurity in the state and the seeming helplessness of the security apparatus in the face of an increasing rise in the number of doctors as well as other health workers and their families being abducted in the state is a thing of great concern.
The NMA however, declared Thursday, 6th February 2020 as a day of mourning, stressing that medical personnel will only attend skeletal services on that day.
The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Professor Nelson Brambaifa, has said that the Commission will partner with the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, to provide free health care to rural communities in the Niger Delta region. Brambaifa said this when a delegation from the NMA Rivers State Branch, led by the Vice Chairman, Dr Ebbi Robinson, paid him a courtesy visit at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that as an interventionist agency, the Commission would always collaborate with experts to provide adequate health care for rural communities in the Niger Delta region, as part of its commitment to enhance better healthcare delivery to the people.
Brambaifa assured the NMA of the support of the NDDC in training and retraining of medical personnel, noting that it was necessary to bridge the gap in healthcare delivery in the Niger Delta by taking medical experts to the various communities.
The NDDC boss stated that the Commission was determined to make a difference in the health sector through the engagement of relevant partners.
He observed that many people had benefited from the free medical services organized by the Commission to address various health issues. According to him, the NDDC had always made efforts to bring healthcare to the door-steps of rural dwellers.
He said that the NDDC free medical mission made it possible to assemble medical experts in different areas of specialization to attend to the needs of people who would otherwise not have access to such highly qualified medical personnel.
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice Chairman of NMA, Dr Ebbi Robinson, commended the NDDC for promoting health-related programmes that help to reduce the medical challenges facing the people of the region.
He said: “We want to partner with NDDC in manpower development in the health sector. There is need to sponsor the training of specialties in the medical sector and we need the support of the NDDC in training and retraining of medical personnel.”
Dr Robinson said the NMA was making arrangements for its Annual General Meeting, AGM, in the Rivers State capital and would, therefore, require the support of the NDDC.
He said that the progamme for the AGM would include free health services for members of the public and a community outreach programme.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for improved budgeting of the health sector.
NMA President, Francis Fajuyile made this appeal during a conference over the weekend in Osogbo the Osun state capital.
He said that government is giving less attention to healthcare and added that the introduction of Universal Health Coverage is needed to improve healthcare delivery of the country.
“We have a myriad of problems affecting us as medical practitioners, the first one is about funding. We need the government to fund health more appropriately and the funding has a lot to do with the equipment that we need to have in the hospitals,” he said.
Fajuyile also decried the poor state of most hospitals in the country and urged the governments at all levels to see to its improvement.
“We need to have a good working environment for the doctors and the patients to be seen and be treated properly.
“It is in this funding that you can employ the adequate number of personnel. Migration of doctors has been fingered that funding of health is one of the major reason why many of our people are leaving the shores of this country.”
On the issue of fake medical practitioners across the country, the NMA President wants security operatives to collaborate with the association to expose culprits.
According to him, quackery is one of the bane of appropriate treatment in this country and should be addressed immediately.
The NMA President believes that fake doctors are not being properly persecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.
He, therefore, wants the association to assist the police in tackling the menace of quacks.
In doing this, Fajuyile said, Nigerians would get the best treatment by skilled workers.
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to medical doctors to avoid going on strike but consider other means of negotiation for better working conditions.
He said this on Thursday when he received the new executive of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The President asked them to always see their profession as a divine call, especially in taking decisions that directly impact on the lives of Nigerians.
“The medical profession is regarded as a divine call because of the strategic role you play in the lives of human beings,” he said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
President Buhari revealed that the Federal Government was considering an upward review of budgetary allocation to the health sector, in order to improve the quality and access to medical facilities across the country.
He was hopeful that the review of the budgetary allocation would reflect the government’s priority of ensuring that Nigerians get better healthcare, especially in specialised areas.
“We place quality healthcare on our priority list, and we are already marching on with the primary healthcare services and some state governors have bought into it. We are committed to universal health care,” the President added.
He also assured the NMA leaders that the White Paper from the Ahmed Yayale-led panel report on Inter-Professional Harmony in the Healthcare Sector was already being considered by the government to ensure more organised and harmonised working relationships among medical practitioners.
President Buhari commended the association and its members on some of the medical feats being achieved in Nigeria, including the separation of conjoined twins, organ transplants, heart surgeries and treatment of cancer patients.
He also informed them that the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council would soon be constituted to further enhance service delivery and regulation of the sector.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ohanire, was optimistic that a newly released basic healthcare provision would further focus on improving service delivery to Nigerians through the primary healthcare.
The NMA President, Dr Francis Adedayo, commended the President for including members of the NMA in the Federal Executive Council and assenting to the Medical Residency Training Act.
He also urged the Federal Government to improve the budgetary allocation to the health sector, as required by the Abuja Declaration which sets a benchmark of 15 per cent.
Dr Adedayo noted that the speedy processing of the Ahmed Yayale report on harmony among practitioners in the medical sector would go a long way in enhancing service delivery and better working relationships.
He hinted the President that the NMA had already reached out to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for stronger partnership in providing care for victims of disasters.
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has accused the members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) of sabotage and fabricating stories making outrageous demands from the Federal Government.
The NMA is blaming the JOHESU on why the industrial action embarked upon has continued to linger on.
According to the NMA, the strike situation has affected health services in some government hospitals across the country.
At this news conference in Abuja, members of the NMA described the industrial action as an act targeted at them.
The association insisted that the crux of the matter is agitations for equal pay with the medical doctors, an allegation that JOHESU leadership denies. The striking health workers resumed negotiations with the Federal Government on Tuesday behind closed doors.
However, a statement from the Ministry of Labour and Employment after that meeting urged the JOHESU members to obey a court order that allegedly directed the striking health workers to suspend their action with 24 hours, a development that JOHESU have also responded to.
The endless strike in the health sector is already taking its toll on patients, and the apparent power play between the NMA, JOHESU and the federal government is obviously not in the interest of patients who want the crisis resolved in immediately.
The Kaduna state branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has asked the Federal Government not to enter any negotiation with the Joint Health Sector Workers Union (JOHESU) over the ongoing strike embarked upon by the union.
The Kaduna NMA described the group as an illegal and non-professional body which should therefore not be recognized by the government.
Chairman of the association Dr Abdulrahaman Shehu, made this known on Thursday at a news conference in Kaduna.
According to him, the purpose of the strike is to sabotage the genuine effort of the government towards ensuring a lasting industrial harmony and development of the country’s health sector.
Speaking further, he described the agitation by the health workers for equal salary and rank with medical doctors as laughable and unrealistic.
Shehu, therefore, stated that any attempt by the Federal Government to distort the existing agreement it entered with the medical doctors in 2014 will be resisted by the association.
He also appealed to other healthcare workers in the country to stay within their roles as team players in the nation’s health sector, noting that their quest for headship in any aspect of clinical practice is uncalled for and has only brought untold hardship to patients and their relatives.
His comments come after the health workers had a meeting with the Federal Government on Wednesday night, to bring an end to the strike which has last for about a month.
The meeting which was chaired by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, and Prof Issac Adewole, Minister of Health, was said to have ended abruptly after some aggrieved members stormed out of the conference room.
The session is however expected to continue today (May, 17, 2018).
Meanwhile, some groups have faulted the government for what they described as its failure to act fast and resolve the lingering strike.
One of such is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who on Tuesday said “the refusal by President Muhammadu Buhari to address the devastating strike action by health workers across the country, is a clear manifestation of insensitivity to the plight and suffering of Nigerians.”
The Party, however, pleaded with the health workers to be more open to ways to solve the problem, so as to “forestall an outbreak of epidemic and health crisis”.
Kaduna State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has decried the declining immunisation coverage across the country, especially in northern Nigeria.
The State NMA Chairman, Dr Shehu Abdulrahman, who stated this on Tuesday while addressing a news conference in Kaduna said the situation was totally unacceptable.
According to him, available data from the 2016/2017 National Immunisation Coverage revealed that only 33 percent of children between 12 to 23 months of age have access to vaccines compared to the global target of 90 percent.
Dr Abdulraman was, however, worried that a large population of Nigerian children under age five were unprotected, saying they were being exposed to the risk of dying from preventable diseases such as measles and Hepatitis B among others.
He said except something was done urgently to reverse the trend, no meaningful development can take place in a situation where diseases and death are ravaging the potential leaders and hopes of tomorrow.
The NMA Chairman further called on government at all levels and other stakeholders in the health sector to provide more funds for child health, particularly routine immunisation activities.
He also asked them to support healthcare workers in the rural areas with adequate logistics and incentives to enable them to discharge their duties effectively.
Abdulrahman also appealed to the Federal Government to fully implement the National Health Act, 2014, which he said provided for the setting aside of one percent of consolidated revenue as Basic Health Provision Fund.
Activities at Federal Medical Centre Makurdi has been grounded as medical workers comply with the complete withdrawal of services to protest alleged under-staffing, deductions, and arrears of skipping allowances.
The Commissioner of Health, Dr. Cecilia Ojabo, made the allegation while reacting to the complete withdrawal of services by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), alleging inadequate medical doctors in public hospitals, demand for the payment of arrears of skipping allowance and arbitral tax deductions.
But the state chairman of NMA, Doctor Isaiah Obekpa insist, the strike action will continue if the government and the management of the Federal Medical Centre refuse to rescind the arbitral tax deductions.
The Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre Makurdi, Dr. Peteru Inunduh, blamed the NMA for inciting industrial disharmony without jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Government has accused the state chapter of the NMA of engaging in professional misconduct by declaring total strike and forcing consultants out of hospitals.
On the issue of under staffing, the state government say, it has 95 medical doctors against the the NMA claim of just 50 doctors.
The government say, all skipping allowances have been paid up to date except for the arrears it inherited.
The state government is appealing to the striking doctors to abort the strike for the sake of the sanctity of human lives.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Osun State has ordered its members to proceed on an immediate 7-day warning strike.
Members of the group declared the strike after an emergency general meeting held in Osun State.
The 7-day warning strike is coming after the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum issued to the Osun State government by the doctors in the state and after what they termed failure of the Osun State government to accede to their demands.
NMA chairman in Osun State, Dr Tokunbo Olajumoke said the 7-day warning strike is to commence immediately because the 21-day ultimatum issued to the state government to look into the pending issues raised by the doctors has expired.
Directing that all doctors stop clinical activities immediately, Olajumoke explained that the 7-day warning strike is to allow the government to call for a meeting with the doctors and reach a truce in the interest of all parties involved.
Meanwhile, the Osun State Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Husamotu has appealed to the doctors to be patient with the state government as their requests are being looked into.
He said the government is committed to providing quality healthcare for the masses as well as ensure the health caregivers are well renumerated.
Among other demands, the doctors are calling for the state government’s intervention into the issue of nonpayment of CONMESS salary scale, over taxation, mutilated and outstanding salaries of the doctors.
The President of National Medical Doctors Association (NMA), Professor Mike Ogirima has made a U-turn from his earlier assertion that the industrial action by National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is wrong and that the resident doctors were not supposed to go on strike.
Ogirima, who appeared on Channels Television Sunrise Daily, on Wednesday, is now calling on the Federal Government to yield to the demands of the resident doctors. He noted that doctors do not trust the Federal Government anymore because the government has failed them.
“Government called them for negotiation. Agreements were reached, promises were made but the doctors never got the light of the day. Government on his own part cannot be trusted any longer, that is the core of the matter.
“The move by government was belated. The resident doctors gave a 21-day ultimatum. Within that period, I was mediating and calling on the doctors not to go on the strike. After the 21-day ultimatum elapsed, there was another 14 days’ strike ultimatum issued by the doctors but the government did not act. The government has failed them severally.”
In an earlier reaction to the strike, the Professor of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery had condemned the action of the resident doctors saying they should consider the damaging effect of their action which will lead to deaths of patients, a situation against their Hippocratic oath.
“NARD taking this decision is wrong but two wrongs cannot make a right. We are appealing that the strike they are declaring today should not come into being. We still have up till the end of the day to appeal to them. NARD should not equate themselves with ASUU. Death from ASUU is a long term effect. Death from NARD strike is immediate. Our patients will die and that is not the oath we take as doctors.
“The resident doctors form the largest affiliate body of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). The consultants are not supposed to be on strike.”
He however stressed the fact that the government was at fault by delaying negotiations with the doctors. “I condemn the government in every front. Right from their delay to the point of negotiations, having negotiations, Memorandum of Understanding, the doctors are no more trusting the government officials.
“The point I condemned the strike was that they would have waited for me as their father by bringing me forward to mediate between them and the government.”