By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna, Victoria Ojeme, Nwabueze Okonkwo & Chris Onuoha
LAGOS— AS the nationwide doctors’ strike continues to take its toll on healthcare services in public hospitals, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, has commended the Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, and the Assembly of Health Professional Associations for dragging the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, and its affiliates to court over the crisis in the health sector.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, and the Nigerian Society of Physiotherapists have urged the striking doctors to return to work, just as doctors under the aegis of National Association General Medicine and Dental Practitioners, NAGMDP, Anambra State chapter, have commended efforts by Governor Willie Obiano to tackle the problems in the health sector in the state.
In a statement, weekend, President of the PSN, Mr Olumide Akintayo, said the NMA had perennially constituted itself into the law by declaring frequent unlawful strikes through which it illegitimately negotiates favourable conditions of service for its members while at the same time dictating what other health workers can earn.
Akintayo said: “For years on end we at PSN have always insisted that the NMA, National Association of Resident Doctors and Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria and other appendages are not trade unions and so cannot legally be said to have a locus standi in trade disputes.
“It is our strong affirmation that the JOHESU vs NMA matter at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, has all the propensities to fundamentally resolve once and for all, so many contentious issues which have ravaged the health sector albeit retrogressively once and for all.”
It’s selfish, unethical, illegal —Nurses
In a related development, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives has described the current strike action by the NMA as “selfish, unethical and illegal.”
NANNM, in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Yusuf-Badmus, advised the Federal Government to “stop all government employed doctors from establishing private clinics for the benefit of the citizens of this nation while still in government employment.”
The group advocated that all government health workers should ”have a unified salary scale to check and prevent unhealthy rivalry and end to the incessant strike action, that leaves the innocent patient to suffer.”
Also, the Nigerian Society of Physiotherapists urged the NMA to end the on-going strike and save lives of millions who have no means to fly abroad for medical treatment.
President of the Society, Mr. Taiwo Oyewumi, stated that the NMA should rescind its decision and listen to voice of reason as it concerns life.
Meanwhile, doctors in Anambra State, under the aegis of NAGMDP, have given Governor Willie Obiano a pat on the back for efforts to tackle the problems in the health sector in the state, as contained in his blueprint.
State Chairman, NAGMDP, Dr. Joe Uyamadu, who disclosed this to newsmen in Onitsha, said Obiano’s blueprint was similar to their six-point demand that led to strike during former Governor Peter Obi’s regime, adding that with the way he is pursuing the blueprint vigorously, they would no longer contemplate going on strike in the state.