Barely three days after resident doctors in Abuja declared an indefinite strike, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has directed that all unions affiliated to it should go back to work until the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) is contained.
All Nigerian doctors are members of NMA and other doctors’ associations like the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) are affiliate members.
The ARD members are protesting, among others, the failure of the government to make complete payment of their over two months’ basic salaries.
Apart from the Abuja chapter, Resident doctors in Gombe and Enugu are also on strike.
The president of Abuja chapter, Roland Aigbovo, said their members have been thrown into financial distress due to the nonpayment of their salaries and despite repeated warnings and ultimatum, nothing has been done by the authorities.
He said there has been salary irregularities and shortfalls since the migration to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System by the FCTA.
Nigeria is among countries currently battling the Covid-19 disease. As of Thursday, the country has recorded 12 cases including a six weeks old child.
Suspend Industrial actions
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, the President of NMA, Francis Faduyile directed all medical associations to suspend all industrial action against their management.
This, he said, is to ensure active participation of doctors in containing the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.
“We direct all medical associations that have declared industrial actions against their management to suspend all actions as the National NMA shall take over the dispute and interact with the different organs/agencies of government.
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“In this regards ARDs of FCTA, Gombe, ESUT-Parklane and Kaduna as well as NMA Cross Rivers are directed to report back to work and treat Nigerians.
“This gesture is geared to treat fellow Nigerians notwithstanding the inhuman treatment meted on our members nationwide,” he said.
He urged doctors in both private and public health facilities to be at their duty post to promptly treat Nigerians who reported to their hospital.
Mr Faduyile called on the government to provide all the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals.
This is to ensure all health personnel adequately and appropriately manage their patients.
He also urged the government to upgrade isolation wards in all the states of the federation and Abuja for proper treatment of those infected with COVID 19.
“We direct all state NMA to set up a 5-man committee of health professionals- including doctors, pharmacies, and nurses to monitor the level of preparedness and management of our hospitals.
“This committee should interact with the different committee set up by their respective state governors and FCT Minister.
“The NMA shall not hesitate to take appropriate action(s) against government organs/agencies that fail to reciprocate this gesture by honouring agreements with their workers after containing this COVID-19 scourge,” he said.