‘…doctors’ new salary structure’ll reflect in 2015 budget’
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA — Health Committee of the House of Representatives, yesterday, asked the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, to apologise to Nigerians over the “unpatriotic” industrial strike embarked upon by medical doctors in the country.
It will be recalled that the NMA on July 1, 2014, proceeded on an industrial action and deserted public hospitals and other health institutions nation-wide on the account of unmet demands, including appointing a Surgeon-General as Minister of Health by the Federal Government.
But after 55 days, the association on Sunday, August 25, 2014, called off the strike and ordered doctors back to work.
However, during the period of the industrial action, the country witnessed the out-break of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, via late Mr. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American who was in the country for an ECOWAS event.
So far, amid other reported deaths arising from the absence of medical doctors in the public health institutions, the EVD had claimed the lives of four Nigerians outside Sawyer’s.
Addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday, on the suspension of the NMA strike, Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Health, Ndudi Elumelu, said it was not enough for NMA to call off the strike, but should apologise to Nigerians over the “avoidable” deaths, regretting that the NMA shunned all entreaties and acted to the contrary.
He said: “The leadership of NMA has been described as unpatriotic even by other Nigerian doctors, as well as members of the public in view of health challenges confronting the nation and the scourge of Ebola Virus Disease, which erupted during the strike period.
“Patriotic Nigerians both home and abroad have passionately condemned the action of the current leadership of the NMA.
“The committee has a final word for NMA. The NMA has suspended the strike, but it has failed to do one thing: the NMA failed to apologise to Nigerians. The NMA should apologise to Nigerians for all the inconveniences and lives that were lost during the strike.