By Chioma Obinna & Luminous Jannamike
FOLLOWING the extension of the ongoing strike to states and local government owned hospitals, the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, yesterday threatened to resume its 2014 suspended strike should the Federal Government accede to the demands of the striking health workers under the auspices of the Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU.
Meanwhile, the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals Associations, AHPA, has slammed NMA, for threatening to down tool if the Federal Government meets the demands of JOHESU.
In a statement by National President of NMA, Francis Faduyile and Secretary General, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote, the association said that the latest position was informed by the extension of the ongoing strike to states and local government- owned health facilities.
NMA said: “The above reminder is predicated on the extension of the ongoing strike action embarked upon by the amorphous body called ‘’JOHESU”, to states and local government areas, the basis of which is to strengthen its callous and ill motivated agitation for pay parity between her members and doctors with the resultant erosion of relativity and further hierarchical distortion in the health sector vis-à-vis her clandestine romance with some top government officials.
“The demand for professional autonomy is part of the fight for professional ego by JOHESU/AHPA. Government is once again reminded of global best practices in terms of the leadership of the clinical/medical team in which the physician is the head.”
Rather than accede to a demand that will lead to more preventable deaths, we urge the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the Yayale Ahmed Committee on professional harmony in the health sector.
“The demand for the appointment of other health workers as Consultant (with payment of specialist allowance) is a self-centered agitation aimed at ensuring they are in charge of clinical care. This is not only an aberration (considering international best practice) that will add no value to clinical/patients’ care, it will certainly worsen morbidity and mortality indices in Nigeria. We therefore reaffirm the rejection of this demand.
“The demand for Headship of Departments/units in the hospital by members of JOHESU/AHPA will lead to unprecedented chaos in the health sector with ripple effect on the health of Nigerians. We reaffirm our rejection of this demand,” they said.
APHA describes NMA threat as absurd
Reacting to the threat by NMA statement, AHPA described NMA’s appeal to the Federal Government as cheap blackmail and immature, noting that it was absurd for doctors as employees to ask their employer not to grant the demands of fellow employees.
National Chairman of APHA, Dr. Godswill Okara, said it was preposterous for NMA to seek to manipulate the government over a matter it has no business with.
He said: “The NMA is trying to play a meddlesome interloper in a matter that does not in any way concern it. There threat to down tools if our demands are granted amounts to cheap blackmail. And that is exactly what we have been complaining about.
“It is improper for an employee to seek to stop another employee from making demands on their collective employer. NMA is free to make its own demands on government, and it has exercised this freedom to the fullest extent without any form of interference from other healthcare professional associations.”