By Tony Edike
ENUGU— Enugu State chapter of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has given the state government a two-week ultimatum to commence negotiations with doctors in the state over the Consolidated Medical Salaries Scale, CONMESS, or risk an industrial action.
Speaking at a news briefing in Enugu, the newly elected chairman of the Association in the state, Dr Kelechi Madu, expressed dismay over the state government’s seeming nonchalance to the plight of the doctors, saying despite the disposition of members of the Association to holding talks with the government, as shown in its suspension of an earlier industrial action, government had not done anything to reciprocate the gesture.
Resident doctors in the state health institutions had on September 8 this year, suspended their 11 weeks strike, following the intervention of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, in the dispute between doctors and Enugu State government over the non-implementation of CONMESS for doctors in state-owned institutions.
The NMA noted with regrets that several weeks after the strike was suspended, the government had not deemed it necessary to dialogue with the aggrieved medical doctors on the issue.
“We hereby appeal to the state government to commence talks with our members under its employment, with a view to implementing the CONMESS salary structure.
“This is to forestall an imminent return to the strike which our members suspended to allow for talks between them and the government. The government is yet to utilize this window to forestall a recurrence of the industrial disharmony present in the state about six weeks ago,” Madu said.
The NMA Chairman said the doctors were concerned about the plight of people of the state “whose good health is our priority and their lives, so precious”, noting that it was on that basis that they had continued to be disposed to talks with government.
Dr Madu used the forum to announce that the NMA 2010 Physicians’ week had been planned to take place on October 23 with the theme “Urbanisation and Health”, stressing that their programme for the week include seminar, medical outreach to selected local government councils, walk to raise awareness as well as health enlightenment talks at some secondary schools.
The 8-man executive of the Enugu chapter of NMA emerged in an election which was held in July this year.