Between NMA and the Federal Government

Author: 
Jimoh Abdullateef Jimlad
Between NMA and the Federal Government
 
The Nigerian Healthcare System has consistently luxuriated and wallowed in a great magnitude of hesitancy. For many times in history, the issue of the strike has suffocated our lungs and we could not breathe well, thus painfully demonstrating the negative impacts of the strike on the populace. The health care system is facing the most global pandemic crisis in a century and the strike of the resident doctors loomed is looming and may still loom if the Government is not doing anything to see to the end of the ambient strike, especially at this time which is very degrading as this show to the world how badly treated the health workers are in Nigeria. 
 
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) is the largest medical association in the West African sub-region with over 40,000 members across the country. The association was established in 1951. Some of the roles of the association are to nominate 11 members of the medical and dental council of Nigeria to regulate the practice of medicine and Dentistry in Nigeria, also to make unsolicited recommendations to Government on various health issues.
 
There are many arms of the association. One of them is the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which is the umbrella body for all resident doctors in institutions where residency training is accredited either by the National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria and /or West Africa Post Graduate Medical college. NARD commenced its strike on August 1 after the three months it gave the Federal Government to implement the term of the MoU it signed with the association in April elapsed along with unpaid benefits and other issues. 
 
On August 21, The Federal Government met with the striking doctors which the NARD refuse to assent to a new MoU brokered by the NMA, her parent body to end the three weeks old strike which has crippled the provision of medical services across the country. On this, the NARD National President, Dr, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, stated that the body rejected the new MoU because we feel we are being punished for the failures of those in Government. 
 
The Federal Government, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige faulted the ongoing strike describing it as baseless and uncalled for, even as the implementation of the MoU signed with doctors ON August 21, was on course. He added that the Government is trying to make things go well even in the midst of the dwindling resources to ease the practice of Medicine in the country.
 
However, there was a u-turn in the ongoing strike embarked by the NARD as her parent body, Nigeria Medical Association(NMA) has thrown her weight behind the ongoing nationwide strike. The NMA released the statement on Sunday, August 29, followed by its NEC meeting which was held in Edo state, jointly signed by its president, Prof Innocent Ujah, and Secretary-General Dr Phillips Ekpe that the Federal Government should resolve all pending issues with NARD and other concerned  associations within 21 days which after which an indefinite strike will nationwide. 
 
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) stated that about 72,000 doctors are fully registered with them with over half the numbers practicing outside the country blaming the mass exit on poor working conditions thus leaving the sick ones unattended to. The Government is always in conflict with the NMA and this keeps going on and on with no final resolutions. 
 
What can we do if the system is not just and treat her workers badly. We hope things get better in our country.

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