NMA gives FG 21-day ultimatum, threatens to join resident doctors strike

NMA gives FG 21-day ultimatum, threatens to join resident doctors strike
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The Nigerian Medical Association(NMA) has issued a 21-day strike notice to the Federal Government of Nigeria, with effect from Monday, August 30.

This comes as the Federal Government said that it had set aside N4.8bn as residency training fund for doctors.

At the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Benin , Edo State, the NMA and all its affiliates resolved to give the Federal Government a 21-day notice to fully resolve all the issues contained in the various agreements signed with the doctors.

In a statement signed by NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah; and Secretary General, Dr Phillips Ekpe, the association said, “After due consideration NEC has put the federal government on a 21-day notice to fully resolve all the issues contained in the various agreements signed with Affiliate members of the Nigerian Medical Association, including MDCAN, MEDSABAMS and NARD.”

The statement said further said that NMA fully supports all her affiliates in their efforts to improve the healthcare delivery in Nigeria and the Welfare of her members.

It added, “NEC affirms that no doctor shall be victimised for participating/not participating in the strike action by NARD.

“In the event that the Federal Government fails to implement the agreements after the expiration of the 21- day notice, NMA shall summon an emergency delegate meeting to review the progress made on the implementation of the agreements.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government said it has set aside N4.8 billion as a residency training fund for the striking resident doctors in the country.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who disclosed this at the weekend during a meeting with the Chairman of the Forum Chairmen of Health Institutions in Nigeria , Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, said that the leadership of the NARD gave the government an impossible condition before they would agree to sign the MOU reached at the last conciliatory meeting.

He said the resident doctors wanted the government to exempt them from the application of Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act that provides for ‘no work, no pay’ sanctions for striking workers

While giving an update on the efforts being made to meet the demands of the doctors, Ngige said that the implementation of the MOA signed on August 21 with the doctors was on course.

He said the government has adopted a holistic approach to tackling the challenges in the health sector, noting that some of the issues in contention cut across sectors.

He added that the government bent backward to improve the ease of the practice of medicine in the country despite dwindling resources.

“The resident doctors are on the scheme of service against which obtained earlier. There was nothing like that. Nigeria is also about the only country that has the Medical Residency Training Fund, backed up by an Act, Medical Residency Training Act, passed into law by this administration in 2018. N4.8 billion is already in 2021 Service Wide Vote for this – to cover exam fees, books, travel to exam centres, and accommodation. We are battling to meet up the timeline on this,” the minister added.

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