The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) today warned about the imminent collapse of the health sector in the next few days, as its final ultimatum to the federal government has nearly expired with no progress being made. The disturbing alarm comes just as the government finally seems to be making headway in its conflict with university lecturers who may return to work in a matter of days.
In the statement signed by the NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the doctors drew attention to the levity with which the
Health Minister, Mr. Chukwu Onyebuchi, has handled the situation. Some of the issues in context, they said, include the upgrade of hospital facilities and infrastructure; improvement in their work conditions; and the erroneous system in the adopted salary payment structure known as Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).
After a series postponements of their deadlines for meeting all the demands since July, on account of the intervention of some stakeholders, the doctors have finally elected that December 14, as the final deadline beyond which no other grace would be permissible. This means a shutdown of the education sector could well be joined by a shutdown of the medical sector.
“…only the re-constitution &inauguration of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has been achieved,” the statement said.
“…it may be difficult to guarantee further extension of the grace period and consequently, industrial harmony in the health sector, especially as the December 14, 2013 deadline issued to the Federal Government to concretely resolve the demands of the NMA, draws closer.”
Therefore, the NMA “most distressingly alerts the entire nation about the imminent collapse of health services across the entire country given the apparent levity and lack of concrete commitment so far exhibited by the Government through the Federal Ministry of Health”.