Nigerian Senate urges doctors to call off strike

Doctors should consider their essential responsibility of saving lives.

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The Senate has called on doctors in public hospitals to call off their industrial action.

The call followed a motion moved at plenary by the Chairman of the Committee on Health, Ifeanyi Okowa, in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said when the committee was informed of the strike, its members held an emergency meeting with the national executive of the Nigeria Medical Association to resolve the dispute.

He said the request by the association for the Ministry of Health to issue certain circulars before its members would provide emergency services had been complied with by the ministry.

He added that during the meeting, the committee stressed the need for the doctors to call off the strike to enable the government engage in further dialogue with the association and prevent loss of lives.

Mr. Okowa said although the committee was unable to meet with the Minister of Health, who had travelled out of the Nigeria, it had useful interaction with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

“The NMA promised it will call its members back to work to offer emergency medical services since Friday July 4. It has directed all medical institutions to offer emergency medical services to Nigerians. I thought I needed to inform my colleagues that emergency medical services have been restored, but I will continue with the negotiation with the association along with the presidential committee. I appeal to Nigerians to be patient; we are still on it and we hope that we will resolve the issue as soon as possible,” Mr. Okowa said.

The Deputy President of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, appealed to the doctors to consider the plight of the patients and return to work.

He said innocent patients would suffer if the dispute between them and the government was not resolved in time.

He appealed to the doctors to consider their essential responsibility of saving lives and urged them to resume duty immediately to discharge their duties to humanity.

“I would like to appeal to the striking doctors on behalf of the Senate to please consider going back to work. As long as they are on strike, the casualty will usually be the patients’ who are innocent of whatever agreement they had with government. It is important that they realise that their primary responsibility is to save lives. I hope that other doctors who are here will also support your initiative to ensure that this matter is settled as soon as possible,” he said.

Doctors went on strike last week over issues of welfare and conditions of service.

(NAN)

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