The doctors say the Nigerian government also intends to proscribe the Nigeria Medical Association.
The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, MDCAN, has alleged that the Nigerian government was planning to deploy the military to take over health care services and guard medical institutions, an allegation the Nigerian government has denied.
MDCAN, in a statement by its president, Steven Oluwale, also said the Nigerian government might also be planning to proscribe the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, for embarking on the current strike.
The association warned the federal government against taking these ‘drastic’ actions, saying it would only have negative effect on the already fragile health sector.
The MDCAN said it has information that the government had mapped out modalities to end the strike and also proscribe the NMA.
“The attention of the MDCAN is 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 the Press that the Government is considering proscription of the NMA,” Mr. Oluwale said.
“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.”
The MDCAN warned the government not to politicise the issues in the health sector.
Mr.Oluwale said the “propositions of agents of government should deeply worry anyone fairly familiar with the organisation of multi-tier health services for a country.
He said, “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.”
Responding to the allegations by the MDCAN, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the federal government has no intention to proscribe the NMA.
Speaking through his Media aide, Dan Nwomeh, Mr. Chukwu said the government is ensuring that the issues behind the strike are resolved amicably.
He said that the government has fulfilled part of its bargain with the NMA and is expecting the NMA to call off the strike in the interest of Nigerians.