Members 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.