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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Striking Doctors Accuse Government Of Plotting To Draft Soldiers To Hospitals, Proscribe Their Association

Nigerian medical doctors, who are currently on strike, have accused the Federal Government of plotting to draft soldiers to hospitals, privatize government-owned hospitals,and proscribe the Nigerian Medical Association.However, the Federal Government has denied theallegation.

The doctors, who have been on anationwide strike forabout amonth, also said the government was planning touse paramedical personnel to do the work of medical doctors.
On Monday, the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN)decried theostensible plan by the government to employ extraordinary measures in order to break the strike and force the doctorsback to work. MDCAN warned of grave effectson the troubled health sector should the government implement its alleged plan.
In a statement released in Abuja yesterday, MDCANs leader, Dr. Steven Oluwole, claimed that his group was aware ofthe governments plan to use extreme measures to break the back of the striking doctors. According to him, unnamed government officials have leaked to us that the government is considering[the]proscription of the NMA.
He added: 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 paramilitary medical professionals rendering services in the mean time.”All public health institutions will be privatized. Then the no work no pay principle will be enforced, doctors who are interested will be protected to resume duties.
Dr. Oluwole described that the governments alleged plansas worrisome and could further jeopardize Nigeriasmulti-tier health services. He accused the government of playing politics with the issue of health. Before the NMA declared the strike, the MDCAN implored[the]government to look professionally, but not politically at all the issues. Unfortunately there is little evidence that such had been done, he said.In his statement, Dr. Oluwole raised a series of questions:”Are there no laws that establishedthe tertiary health institutions? Will privatization of Teaching Hospitals fulfillthe 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 allspecialties 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 MDCAN warned that theMDCAN members would notcapitulateto any machinations of the government.
Meanwhile Nigerias Minister of Health,Dr.Onyewuchi Chukwu,has denied that the government was planning to proscribe the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
The ministers spokesman,Mr. Dan Nwomeh, said thegovernment had no agenda to proscribe the association. Instead, he stated that the government was working hard to achieve an amicable resolution of the issuesthat led to the strike. He added that the government hadmet a significantpart of itscommitments tothemembers of theNMA. He called on the doctors to call off their strike inthe interest of Nigerians.
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