Danger: Doctors begin 5-day warning strike

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By Precious Adi

stethoscopeDoctors under the support of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, began a warning strike yesterday. They withdraw their services from public hospitals across the federation.

The warning strike, which is meant to protest the failure of the Federal Government and to implement a mutual agreement to enable the Federal Government meet their demands for an improved welfare and other emoluments, will be called off in the first instance after five days.

It is expected to continue after the festive season in the second phase, unless there are any progressive developments on the crisis.

NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said the association was making good its threat, following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum issued weeks ago.

He also said that the action for withdrawal of services was going on as planned, and he urged Nigerians to disregard information to the contrary.

Dr. Osahon said “We had a meeting called by the Minister of Labour and this meeting lasted from 3.30p.m. on Monday till 5a.m. on Tuesday.“The meeting had in attendance, ministers of Labour and Health; Chairman, House Committee on Health, and a delegation of the NMA.

“Others included the Permanent Secretary, Labour and Health, representatives of Salaries & Wages, the Head of Service and Budgets Office.

“The meeting raised a memorandum of understanding, MoU, where the government signed a promissory note that they will attend to the demands by January 6, 2014.

“It was also agreed that if government could meet the minimum demand of the issues at stake in terms of income, wages and discrepancies in our salaries and lastly funding of healthcare, we would reconsider.

“If they can reach at least one of the demands, we will reconsider our stand. But they only came up with the MoU, which was not part of our agreement with doctors.”

He also pointed out that NMA cannot on basis of the MoU decide whether or not to continue with the strike.
“Only members can take decision because they have once been and deceived by the MoU,” he added.

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