September 7, 2021

NMA raises alarm over 5-month doctors’ salaries arrears in Abia, Imo, Ekiti, Ondo, Anambra

*Urges NGF, NEC, traditional rulers to intervene

By Chioma Obinna

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has raised the alarm over what it described as ‘sufferings and deprivation’ meted out to their members in Abia, Imo, Ekiti, Ondo and Anambra States where doctors are being owed between four and 20 months.

Disclosing this in a communique issued after its meeting in Edo State themed: “Medical Practice in the face of National Insecurity: Implications for Nigerian Healthcare Indices”, the NMA urged  the National Economic Council (NEC), the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), National Council of Traditional Rulers and the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, as well as other stakeholders to as a matter of urgency to intervene now before the matter escalates.

The NMA also noted with dismay the impact of withdrawal of healthcare service delivery in those States including the training of medical students at the States’ teaching hospitals even as it said that it may no longer guarantee industrial harmony if the salary arrears are not paid in the shortest possible time.

READ ALSO: We spent N203bn on doctors’ welfare, did everything humanly possible to stop strike —FG

Commenting on the Status of the Circulars of Contention from the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF,  in the communique jointly signed by the President, NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah and the Secretary General, Dr. Philips Uche  Ekpe, the Council noted with displeasure the Circular removing House Officers and NYSC doctors from the Scheme of Service.

It further noted the deleterious effect of the implication of the appointment of Consultant Pharmacists without specific job description and clear definition of roles in the Nigeria’s health system, which it describes as a recipe for conflagration which will affect patient care as well as wipe away harmonious inter-professional relationship in the public health sector.

“Furthermore, the Council observed as provocative the stoppage of salary payment for doctors in academics using the CONMESS scale and firmly rejects these Circulars once again and advises the OHCSF to take immediate steps to withdraw them.”

On the Status Report on the Use of the Doctor’s Stamp, the Council reiterated its earlier commitment towards authenticating medical reports and certifications using the instrumentality of the Doctors’ Stamp and mandates the NOC to fast-track the processes towards its wider adoption and usage in order to reduce the huge number of quacks currently in the system.

On the PhD versus Fellowship in Relation to Pre-Qualification for Vice Chancellorship Positions in some Universities, they notes that  the exclusion of holders of Medical Fellowship from vying for the Vice Chancellorship positions in some Universities on the premise that Medical Fellowship was a professional qualification and not a degree equivalent of PhD as retrogressive and uninformed.

“Council notes with pride that the curriculum content of the Fellowship programmes, which encompasses both academic and professional aspects, are far in excess of any other curriculum for any postgraduate programme in any university in Nigeria, including the PhD programmes.

“It regrets the high level of ignorance and mischief perpetuated by the purveyors of this ill-advised division in the academia.”

“They vowed to pursue the matter using all lawful means to reverse the unfair disenfranchisement of its members in the academia from attaining the apex of academic leadership position.” 

On the negotiation on the adjustment of Hazard Allowance,  they noted the  slow progress being made by the federal government in arriving at a new hazard allowance for medical doctors, and other health workers, commensurate to the level of risks in the health sector.

It further mandates the relevant Committees of the Association in conjunction with the NOC to continue the engagement till success is achieved.

The Council further stated that it would be carrying out what it tagged as “operation show your current practicing licence” in conjunction with MDCN and the security agencies in the nearest future to fish out illegal medical practitioners.

It therefore, advises all members of the Association to fulfil their obligations of annual practicing licence renewal in order to avoid embarrassment and other sanctions.

It further reiterated that it has reviewed and chronicled   the various negotiation meetings between NARD and the federal government and bemoaned the unconscionable developments that have followed despite the interventions of the leadership of NMA.

Vanguard News Nigeria