Ebola: Nigerian doctors still on strike – Official

Doctors are allowed to volunteer to help contain the spread of the deadly Ebola.

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, on Thursday said it had not called of its one month strike.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, the Secretary, NMA, Kaduna chapter, Shehu Abdulrahman, said reports on social media that the association had called of its strike were mere propaganda from the government.

“No, the strike has not been called off. The strike continues; that was the resolution of our meeting that was held (Wednesday) through (Thursday),” Mr. Abdulrahman said.

Consideration given to Ebola

The NMA began its indefinite nationwide strike on July 1 in protest against Federal Government’s non-implementation of some agreements it had with the union.

After the NMA’s meeting on Thursday morning, Nigerians were optimistic that the strike would be called off, especially with the sudden outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease in Lagos State.

Mr. Abdulrahman, however, stated that irrespective of the strike, doctors were allowed to volunteer in various hospitals to help contain the spread of the deadly disease which has killed over 900 people in West Africa.

He also disclosed that the NMA had instructed its Lagos chapter to set up various wards in selected Lagos hospitals.

“In fact the NMA has put that into consideration and we have taken a reasonable approach. (The Association) has directed the Lagos chapter to set up booths within the hospitals in Lagos. They have containment wards and isolated cubicles where screening and quarantining are being done. They have a de-containment section where they are taking care of those that are found infected,” Mr. Abdulrahman said.

He also noted that in addition to advocacy and preventive measures campaign by the Lagos government, the association was involved in a massive media campaign, production of flyers and posters, as well as short articles by different doctors to give Nigerians an insight on precautionary measures.

Government should do “the needful”

Mr. Abdulrahman clarified that the presence of doctors in the Lagos hospitals to help in the control of the disease’s spread, however, did not mean that the strike had been called off.

He called on the Nigerian Government to do the needful and attend to the issues tabled before it by the association. He noted that “the minimum endpoints” have not been met by the government.

The association’s demands included immediate appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation and increase of hazard allowance to N100,000 monthly.

The doctors also demanded reservation of the position of the chief medical director for medical doctors only.

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