Reps intervene in doctors’/Fed Govt’s face-off
The House of Representatives has intervened in the face-off between the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Federal Ministry of Health.
To broker peace between the warring parties, the House mandated its Committee on Health intervene in the industrial crisis.
The committee is expected to report the outcome of the intervention to the House within a week.
The House resolution followed a motion moved under matters of urgent national importance by Minority Whip Samson Osagie (APC, Edo).
In the motion, titled: ‘Urgent Need To Resolve the Crisis in the Health Sector’, Osagie urged the NMA and its members to call off their strike “in view of the critical and fundamental nature of their calling to the lives of the citizenry”.
The lawmaker urged the Federal Government “to do everything possible …to have this crisis abated in the interest of the citizens of this country”.
He added: “From the NMA perspective, a number of issues, including the appointment of the Surgeon-General for the Federation, the payment of hazard allowances to doctors, retirement age of doctors, expansion of the NHIS (National Health Insurance Scheme) to cover a wider spectrum of the society, among others, are also some of the issues that the National Assembly (has) passed resolutions on.”
According to him, given the critical state of insecurity in Nigeria, Nigerians are at risk during emergencies, if medical services are not made available.
Fashola to doctors: stop frequent strikes
lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola has urged doctors and other health workers to desist from using strike to make demands.
Fashola spoke yesterday at the second convocation of the Lagos State College of Health Technology in Yaba, Lagos.
The governor approved the employment of the 265 graduates of the college to work in the State Primary Health Care (PHC).
He noted that the effect of industrial actions violates doctors’ professional calling.
Fashola said: “Medical workers, from the lowest medical worker to the highest in the chain of command and the team, you are like gods on earth. Only sick people know your importance.”
The governor said workers in other sub-sectors of the economy are not satisfied with their remuneration, adding that such workers still do not hold governments by the jugular.
According to him, workers who restrain from strikes do not want Nigeria to fail.
Fashola hailed the management of the college for positively impacting the lives of the new graduates.
He said: “What delights me most is that we are producing graduates in areas where the Lagos economy has a compelling need – the primary healthcare, the primary healthcare development.
“We are producing graduates who will help us to achieve our objectives. So, to show that we are ready to work our talk, I have indicated and now say publicly that all of the graduating students today will be immediately employed by our government. We will work the process. We will go to the House of Assembly, if it is necessary, to raise supplementary budget to funds this. But I make this commitment to you as a matter of honour.”
Medical services paralysed in Lagos hospitals
Services at Federal Government hospitals in Lagos State were paralysed as the NMA strike entered the third day yesterday.
At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) at Idi-Araba, Surulere; the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) at Ikeja; the National Orthopaedic Hospital at Igbobi, Lagos (NOHIL) and the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) at Ebute Metta, among others, doctors did not attend to patients.
The NMA, supported by the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) is on an indefinite nationwide strike, making a 24-point demand.
The hospitals, which normally had a heavy presence of doctors, only had nurses and other junior health workers to attend to in-patients.
Relatives of seriously sick patients had moved them to private hospitals.
All the out-patient units and clinics were shut while in-patients receiving treatment were told to either seek health care in private hospitals or wait till the end of the strike.
Patients who were referred to tertiary facilities were told to seek treatment in private hospitals, which many considered as “expensive”.
The Accident and Emergency (A and E) units of the hospitals our reporter visited were closed, even to patients on emergency.
At LUTH, only minor injuries were attended to by the nurses.
The major wards at LUTH, LASUTH and NOHIL were quiet, unlike on normal work days when they were swarming with doctors, nurses, patients and relatives of patients, among others.
Don’t pay striking doctors, patients urge Fed Govt
patients at the Benin Central Hospital in Benin, the Edo State capital, yesterday urged the federal and state governments not to pay the striking doctors.
Only three patients were seen at the male and female wards of the hospital when our reporter visited there yesterday.
A matron, who spoke in confidence, said the wards were usually filled with doctors and patients before the strike started.
Some of the patients said they would soon be discharged.
They said the striking doctors should be made to experience similar pains they had been passing through since Tuesday.
Mr Friday Iyebe, who had spent two weeks at the hospital, said it was sad that doctors could embark on the strike without considering the plight of their patients.
He said: “This is not the right time for doctors to strike. They are supposed not to be paid for allowing people to die. They should not receive salary for punishing patients.”
Another patient waiting to be discharged, Justin Idiaghe, urged the doctors to call off the strike.
She said patients were made to suffer the strike action.
At the maternity ward, it was learnt that six babies had been delivered since the strike started.
A source at the hospital said only expectant mothers without complications were allowed into the labour room while others were referred to other hospitals.
The source denied allegations that four babies died at the hospital because of lack of proper medical attention.
The hospitals’ Medical Director, Dr. Edith Kayode-Iyase, confirmed that several patients had been discharged.
JOHESU threatens to sue NMA, MDCAN
Delta State chapter of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) has threatened to take a legal action against the NMA and the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) over their nationwide strike in government hospitals.
JOHESU chairman at the FMC, Asaba, Comrade Tony Asiodu, condemned the two unions for embarking on what he called an “ego-bloating and prejudiced” strike at the expense of Nigerians.
In a statement yesterday, Asiodu said an Abuja court had restrained the medical unions from any strike.
He said: “Nigerians must say no to MDCAN/NMA that have become anti-people. The Federal Government should not allow itself to be blackmailed by MDCAN/NMA.”
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