…Military To Man Hospitals, Para-medical Officers To Function As Doctors
…Govt Has No Such Plan, We’ve Done Our Part, Says Health Minister
BEVERLY HILLS, July 28, (THEWILL) – The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) Monday raised the alarm over alleged plan by the Federal Government to proscribe the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) following the lingering national strike by the medical doctors and their refusal to call off their industrial action despite all pleas by the government. Doctors in government hospitals have been on nationwide strike for the past one month over irreconcilable differences and alleged breach of trade union agreement.
But the MDCAN has warned the Federal Government against taking any drastic actions against the NMA that would force it to end the current strike.
This, according to the MDCAN, would have negative effect on the already fragile health sector.
The President of MDCAN, Dr. Steven Oluwole, in a statement obtained by THEWILL Monday in Abuja, said information available to the association revealed that the government has mapped out modalities to end the strike and also proscribe the NMA.
“The attention of the MDCAN has been drawn to the purported plan of the Federal Government to take drastic steps to end the current NMA strike. Unnamed government officials have leaked to us that the government is considering proscription of the NMA.
“In the event that the Federal Government tows this course of action, the military will be deployed to guard the medical institutions with military and para-military medical professionals rendering services in the mean time.
“All public health institutions will be privatised. Then the ‘no work no pay’ principle will be enforced, doctors who are interested will be protected to resume duties while new ones will be employed to take their place,” he said.
According to the MDCAN chief, “Propositions of agents of government should deeply worry anyone fairly familiar with the organisation of multi-tier health services for a country. Before the NMA declared the strike, the MDCAN implored government to look professionally, but not politically at all the issues. Unfortunately there is little evidence that such had been done.”
He also asked: “Are there no laws that establish the tertiary health institutions? Will privatisation of Teaching Hospitals fulfill the objectives for which they were established? Private hospitals are for profit rather than for training and research. Will they serve the primary functions as defined in the Acts that established the hospitals?
“Will the Ministry of Health find suitable replacement for all specialities in Teaching Hospitals, from unemployed doctors and retired doctors? Will the Ministry of Health reconstitute the entire health system even if it is intended that foreign doctors will be imported? The assumption that MDCAN members, who are currently restrained by Court order, will capitulate is erroneous.”
However, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyewuchi Chukwu, in his reaction through his Special Assistant (Media and Communications), Mr. Dan Nwomeh, said there was no intention by the government to proscribe the NMA.
He said the effort of the government is to ensure that the issues behind the strike action were resolved amicably.
Chukwu added that the government has fulfilled part of its bargain with the NMA and was expecting the NMA to call off the strike for the interest of Nigerians.