National Medical Association Insists On Strike Despite Ebola Outbreak

striking doctorsMembers of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) are continuing the nationwide strike despite repeated appeals from the Federal Government and other concerned Nigerians for them to return to work and help in tackling the outbreak of the Ebola Virus in Lagos State.

The Secretary-General of the Lagos branch of the NMA, Dr Babajide Saheed, said the decision to continue with the strike was unanimous, after an emergency delegates’ meeting which held in Abuja, from Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

The Federal Government and the Lagos State government had called on the striking medical association to resume duties in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in Lagos State, which has claimed two lives.

On Thursday, there were rumours  that the association had called off the strike, but Dr Saheed’s statement would lay every such rumour to rest, as the doctors appear determined to continue the strike while the government is making efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

“The government is not being sincere and we decided to continue the strike so that we can resolve the issue once and for all. Everybody at the meeting unanimously supported the continuation of the strike,” he said.

On July 1, the leadership of the association asked all members to down tools, after the Federal Government failed to address their 24-point demand.

The association is, among other things, demanding the stoppage of the appointment of non-doctors as directors and consultants.

They are also demanding the immediate passage of the National Health Bill, appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation, the payment of 100,000 Naira hazard allowance for medical doctors and the skipping of level 12 by medical and dental practitioners.

The association had in June addressed a news conference at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where it advised the Federal Government to urgently address its demands or be prepared for the indefinite strike with effect from July 1.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday declared a national emergency on Ebola, stressing the need for all Nigerians to support the government’s efforts to check the spread of the virus.

In a statement by the spokesman for the President, Ruben Abati, President Jonathan urged medical workers and other health professionals to regard the declaration of the National Emergency as a patriotic call to duty and service.

Nigeria’s President To Meet With Investors In London

President Goodluck Jonathan will be visiting the United Kingdom on Wednesday for a three-day meeting with foreign investors.

The meeting is aimed at attracting more investments to Nigeria.

Issues that would be discussed at the meeting of Nigeria’s Honourary International Investors’ Council include generating long-term affordable finance for Nigeria’s real sector, developing Nigeria’s private equity and venture capital sectors to attract more foreign investments and Nigeria’s information and communications technology master-plan.

The government’s spokesman, Ruben Abati, said that the council’s meeting, coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker, would also feature a review of Nigeria’s existing investment policies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based international organization dedicated to the promotion of policies that would improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

“President Jonathan will be accompanied by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Senator Nenadi Usman, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, Hon. Isiaka Bawa, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Olusegun Aganga and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Lamido Sanusi.

Others on the President’s entourage include the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, the Minister of Special Duties, Mr. Kabiru Turaki, the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof. Viola Onwuliri and heads of relevant government agencies”, Abati said in a statement on Tuesday.

The accompanying Ministers and heads of agencies will brief the gathering on developments in their areas of responsibility, and also lead discussions on proposals for overcoming identified challenges.

Some members of the council are the CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Mr. Mohammed al Shaibani, a former South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Alec Erwin and the Vice President of Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Group in Europe and Middle-East and Africa, Mr. Olivier Suinat.

The President is expected back in Nigeria at the weekend.