Withdraw suit against striking doctors, NMA urges FG

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Enugu State has urged the Federal Government to withdraw the case instituted against the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to bring about amicable resolution.

Chairman of NMA Enugu State Branch, Dr Jude Onyia, made the call in Enugu while speaking to newsmen.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ministry of Health, and the Federal Government through the Ministry of Labour approached the National Industrial Court through an ex-parte motion praying for order of interlocutory injunction restraining NARD in all States of the Federation from further continuing with the industrial action embarked on Aug. 2.

Onyia noted that at no time had court suits brought amicably settlement of industrial disputes.

‘For a harmonious settlement to be reached, dialogue is the only answer”.

”Resident doctors have remained the main professional workforce in tertiary health institutions in the country. They constitute over 50 per cent of the workforce,” he said.

The chairman noted that the medical consultants might be working but it might not be effective; and the number of patients to be attended to would be reduced as well.

He noted:“the striking doctors are enjoying the sympathy of the general public”, adding that it would be in the best interest of all for amicable settlement and plights of doctors looked into objectively.

“The National Executive Council of the NMA will be meeting on Wednesday, in Benin, where we hope to discuss the strike extensively but the Federal Government must withdraw the  suit against NARD.

“The government needs to also withdraw the circular by the Head of Service removing House Officers and NYSC doctors from the scheme of service.

“There should be relative atmosphere of peace for dialogue and round table discussion, which is the needed negotiation to take place,’’ he said.

He lamented the insensitivity of the paltry N5,000 given to doctors as hazard allowance in the face of their exposure to dreaded diseases such Lassa fever, Ebola and COVID-19, which had claimed the lives of some doctors already.

“The government and entire nation have to rally round our doctors to check their exodus from the country, which portends more danger for the health sector and well being of the entire citizens.

“If, the current number of doctors still giving service in the country, is further reduced, it will surely tell on the health system of the country and the burden will be enormous.

“The capacity of the medical system to have good number of doctors to attend to unforeseen nationwide health emergencies would be hampered,” he warned.

NAN reports that NARD began its strike on  Aug. 2, over what it called the failure of the government to meet its demands after they entered a memorandum of action  in 2014.

One of the demands was for the withdrawal of the circular by the Head of Service removing House Officers and NYSC doctors from the scheme of service.

NARD also wants the federal and state governments to address the issues of welfare, training and service delivery. (NAN)