The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has commended the decision by other health workers under the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) to shelve thier nationwide strike after six weeks.
While describing themselves ‘leaders of the health sector’, the doctors also demanded to play a part in the negotiation of JOHESU’s demands.
JOHESU, a body of all other health workers except doctors, last Thursday suspended its strike which crippled services across public hospitals in the country and left millions without care.
Since 2014, the health workers have been asking the government to increase their pay and improve their working conditions among other demands. No common ground has been reached yet.
In its ruling a day before the strike was suspended, the National Industrial Court (NIC), offered to take over the mediation process between the striking workers and government.
The NMA in a statement Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Obitade Obimakinde, asked the government to involve them in the negotiations.
“The NMA wishes to reiterate that the health sector operates as a team with the Doctors as the leaders to utmost benefit of the patients. NMA is therefore unapologetically committed to a good and harmonious relationship among the team members.
“The NMA also welcome the alternative dispute resolution [ADR] as a means of resolving the crisis but insist that no holistic, meaningful and long-lasting resolution can be made without the input of all the team members especially the NMA.
“It is in this vein that we call on the government and the National Industrial Court of Nigeria [NICN] to involve the NMA in the ongoing NICN midwifed ADR”, the statement read.
Repeatedly calls and texts sent to both the National chairman and the National vice chairman of JOHESU, Biobelemoye Josiah and Ogbonna Chimela, for reactions were not responded to.
However, doctors had opposed the demands of the health workers.
In the third week of the strike when states and local governments joined, medical doctors threatened to withdraw their services if the government accedes to the demands of other health workers.