|National President of the NMA, Dr. Kayode Obembe|
Rather than thaw, the crisis of confidence between the doctors and their allied health workers’ counterparts grew from bad to worse yesterday as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), an umbrella body of doctors, expressed its dismay over the ongoing strike by the health workers which began on May 17.
The National President of the NMA, Dr. Kayode Obembe accompanied by national officers of the union and local wings of the body from across some states of the federation said “after a careful appraisal of the renewed disruption of industrial peace in the health sector in recent times, we are saddened as to what the seeming conspiratorial gang-up portends to national security, economy and general well-being.”
The NMA which rose from its weeklong 55th annual general conference/delegates meeting ‘The Root 2015’ with the theme: ‘the Nigerian Health Sector: Current trends, burning issues and what the future holds,’ described the strike by allied health workers in some federal government-owned hospitals “as an attempt to ambush and hold the incoming administration hostage as they did to the outgoing one.”
According to the NMA, each time they embark on strike, they lock up offices, theaters, laboratories, and vandalise power generating systems and water supply and tamper with oxygen supply systems to patients in critical conditions, including pre-mature and newborn babies, all in efforts to impede doctors from continuing to render services during their ill-motivated strike actions.
“We call on governments to treat these unbridled acts as genocidal and crime against humanity and bring the culprits to book accordingly. These elements have been allowed to go free from their heinous crimes for too long.
“Nigeria is today infested with a group of ‘allied health workers’ who completely throw decorum and decency to the winds and hence lack any form of human feelings and empathy. The main goal of this group of hospital workers is clearly agitation for undeserving power and financial enrichment to the detriment of the lives of patients.”
While blaming government for the recurring crises in the health sector, Obembe who read the group’s position out to journalists at the Oyo State secretariat of the NMA in Ibadan, said time has come when government should act like true employers, adding that, failing to be decisive and realistic in dealing with them especially for their ‘inordinate ambitions and self-seeking demands,” would mean that the government was completely shirking in its responsibility.
For the industrial harmony to take place in the crisis- ridden health sector therefore, the NMA appealed to the federal government to release the white paper on the Yayale Ahmed committee report, adding that, “we sincerely believe and hope that the work these experts did will not be allowed to gather dust.”
Still on this report, the NMA added, “the release of the white paper will greatly enhance industrial harmony and quality of health care in Nigeria as the roles and responsibilities of all professions will be clearly defined and strictly regulated by the various regulating bodies.”
Their meeting also berated some northern state governors who are hiring foreign doctors at the expense of trained, qualified and competent indigenous doctors, just as it also condemned the increasing wave of kidnapping of doctors across the country.
- Ademola Babalola