Posted by News Express | 29 July 2014 | 8,252 times
Alarm bells are ringing in medical circles in Nigeria following a leaked information on alleged plans by the country’s government to proscribe the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), deploy the military and to federal-owned hospitals and then privatise them.
Doctors in government hospitals have been on nationwide strike for the past one month over irreconcilable differences and alleged breach of trade union agreement.
The alarm bells were triggered yesterday in Abuja via a statement by the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN).
The statement signed by MDCAN President, Dr. Steven Oluwole, said: “The attention of the MDCAN has been drawn to the purported plan of the Federal Government to take drastic steps to end the current NMA strike. Unnamed government officials have leaked to us that the government is considering proscription of the NMA.
“In the event that the Federal Government tows this course of action, the military will be deployed to guard the medical institutions with military and para-military medical professionals rendering services in the mean time.
“All public health institutions will be privatised. Then the ‘no work no pay’ principle will be enforced, doctors who are interested will be protected to resume duties while new ones will be employed to take their place,
“Propositions of agents of government should deeply worry anyone fairly familiar with the organisation of multi-tier health services for a country. Before the NMA declared the strike, the MDCAN implored government to look professionally, but not politically at all the issues. Unfortunately there is little evidence that such had been done.
“Are there no laws that establish the tertiary health institutions? Will privatisation of Teaching Hospitals fulfil the objectives for which they were established? Private hospitals are for profit rather than for training and research. Will they serve the primary functions as defined in the Acts that established the hospitals?
“Will the Ministry of Health find suitable replacement for all specialities in Teaching Hospitals, from unemployed doctors and retired doctors? Will the Ministry of Health reconstitute the entire health system even if it is intended that foreign doctors will be imported? The assumption that MDCAN members, who are currently restrained by court order, will capitulate is erroneous.”
Reacting through his Special Assistant (Media and Communications), Mr. Dan Nwomeh, Health Minister, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, denied any plans by the government to proscribe the NMA. He said government remained committed towards an amicable resolution of the contentious issues with a view to getting the doctors back to work.
•Photo shows Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.
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