BY CHIOMA OBINNA
Normalcy will return to public hospitals across the Federation from 8a.m. today as the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has directed all doctors in the public health sector to return to work following the five-day warning strike which terminated at midnight yesterday.
On December 14, 2013, at its Emergency Delegates’ Meeting in Minna, Niger State, the NMA directed all medical and dental practitioners in Nigeria’s public health sector to embark on strike.
In a statement, the NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele said the Association which first issued a 21-day ultimatum on September 2, 2013, was ordering the resumption in line with an earlier promise to give prime consideration to the yuletide season in the prosecution of the warning strike and to give another opportunity for the government to concretely resolve all the outstanding demands.
“We also wish to use this opportunity to remind government that Nigerian doctors shall not hesitate to commence a full blown strike from 8a.m. on Monday, January 6, 2014, if government does not satisfactorily resolve the demands of the Nigerian Medical Association.
“We therefore call on the local, state and federal levels of government to take note. We wish all Nigerians a happy yuletide season and a blessed 2014,” the statement added.
Appreciating the great understanding and solidarity exhibited by Nigerians during the warning strike, the NMA President called on all well-meaning Nigerians to assist in the resolution of the demands of the NMA, including resolution of the unmitigated injustices done to Nigerian doctors over time, appropriate funding of Nigeria’s healthcare system and expansion of universal health system to cover all Nigerians and health infrastructural upgrade.
He noted that in appreciation of the possible impact of withdrawal of services, the NMA shifted her ultimatum three times with four weeks apart, hoping and praying hard for government to positively respond and address the issues brought before her with a note of finality.
“In the face of overt difficulties and suffering, NMA is pained that it had to embark on this action at this point in time. The last time NMA declared a national strike was six years ago. It is therefore with the traditional signature tune of empathy that the strike has been given a human face,” Enabulele stated.