Following the expiration of the two-week ultimatum issued the federal government by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), doctors in public hospitals will commence on an indefinite nationwide strike on Tuesday, July 1.
National President of the NMA, Dr Kayode Obembe, while speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday said the failure of the federal government to meet the association’s 24-point demand left doctors with no other option but industrial action.
The demands made by the NMA include a N100, 000 monthly hazard allowance for doctors, payment of clinical duty allowance for honorary consultants and the appointment of deputy chairman medical advisory committee in teaching hospitals and federal medical centres.
In a veiled reference to other health workers, the association is strongly opposed to the appointment of non-doctors as consultants, directors or chief medical directors at government health institutions.
Outside demands bordering on their welfare, doctors called for the extension of health insurance to all Nigerians, describing as inadequate, the 30 per cent coverage target of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The association also called for the immediate appointment of a surgeon-general by the federal government as promised by President Goodluck Jonathan.
That promise made by Jonathan led to doctors resuming from an earlier industrial action on January 5.
They are upset that little or nothing has been done to bring this long held demand to fruition.
Obembe said: “The NMA is taking a painful route because our silence and gentle approach to these contending issues have been taken for granted. We have to take this action in order to save the health sector from anarchy that is palpably eminent.”