By Sola Ogundipe & Victor Ahiuma-Young & Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
The Federal Government, weekend, defended its decision to sack 16,000 resident doctors across the country, saying the move was to allow the government appraise the training programme, even as the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Lagos State Branch, dismissed the action describing it as ‘ ahuge joke.’
Meanwhile, the Chairman House Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa has said the sack of the resident doctors by the Federal Government was ‘highly questionable’ on several fronts.
Reacting to the sack at a press conference in Lagos, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu said there had been problems with the training which also informed the ongoing doctors’ strike.
‘’The suspension is with all Federal Government hospitals, State Teaching Hospitals are not affected.
‘’The government suspended the training to allow for critical investigation and come up with better ways to improve the training, ‘’he said.
He further alleged that the doctors have not been participating in the management of Ebola and that they would not be missed.
“We just feel that we needed the space, to take a look and make it better so that we can get the best from the programme. It is not a permanent thing; it is just to allow us to appraise. But of course if you close a programme in a university, you cannot keep the students idle. They either go for another course meanwhile or they wait indefinitely. After that, we will restart the programme.
“We keep forgetting that no doctor has been stopped from working. Some of them may want to volunteer for this Ebola response. If any of them volunteers I would recommend them to the President. That is my job as the Minister of Health. In a university when you temporarily suspend a programme, why must you keep the students?” he explained.
The Secretary, Lagos NMA, Dr. Babajide Saheed, warned that the sacking of resident doctors would increase mortality and morbidity rates and worsen health indices in the country.