Expect total strike from Jan 6, doctors warn

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…as pharmacists issue own ultimatum

By Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna

AS the five-day warning strike called by the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, ends  today, Nigerians have been alerted to brace up for an indefinite doctors’ strike as from January 6, 2014, even as pharmacists, under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, are threatening to team up with the Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, to embark on strike on December 28, 2013.

Issuing the warning in a statement at the end of the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting in Abuja, NMA President,  Dr. Osahon Enabulele, and Secretary General, Dr. Akpufuoma L. Pemu, urged Nigerians to appeal to government to do the needful to avert the full blown doctors’ strike already scheduled to begin in the new year.
In the statement, it was confirmed that the NEC has resolved to continue with the warning strike action as previously planned, until more concrete efforts are made to meet the minimum demands of the NMA.

”The NEC reaffirmed the earlier decision of the Association to limit the duration of the warning strike action in deference to the yuletide season and as a mark of the Association’s appreciation of the appeals of well-meaning Nigerians, but to commence a total strike action (if the issues are not satisfactorily resolved) on January 6, 2014,’ the duo remarked.

A typical scene at an emergency ward of a Lagos State government hospital before the protracted doctors strike.

In a related development, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm Olumide Akintayo, described the NMA warning strike as uncalled for.

In a statement entitled: “Doctors’ Strike: Matters Arising”, Akintayo said it is pertinent to observe that strike actions by Nigerian doctors are purely motivated by pecuniary gains.

” What goes on presently during strike action of doctors is that they are paid for services not rendered during strike. Government needs to halt this by employing doctors who are desirous to work on locum basis as we have seen practiced by some State Government with great efficacy.”

He said pharmacists, under the aegis of the  Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, have never really supported strike actions as a means for achieving professional privileges.

“If for any reason Government compromises the spirit of its agreement with Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, in August 2013, the Federal Government will leave the PSN with no other choice than to mobilize pharmacists in both the public and private sector to join forces with JOHESU which has given a December 28, 2013 deadline to government to enforce the right of its members via the agreement it reached with representatives of the Federal Government at its meetings of August 26th to 27th, 2013 in Abuja,” Akintayo warned.

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