The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has suspended its impending industrial action scheduled to commence on Monday, January 6, 2014 after an emergency National Executive Council (E-NEC) meeting held in Abuja on Saturday, January 4, 2014, to reappraise the efforts made so far to resolve their demands.
The NEC’s decision was not unconnected to the efforts and the personal commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government of Nigeria to address some of the demands of the association. Several appeals made by Nigerians and the media for more time to be given by NMA for dialogue with government also played a big role.
In a statement signed by the President, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the association directed all medical and dental practitioners nationwide to “continue to render their normal and highly cherished services to the lovely and caring people of Nigeria.”
“The National Executive Council of the Nigerian Medical Association has resolved to suspend for now her earlier directive to all medical and dental practitioners in Nigeria to withdraw their services from Monday, January 6, 2014 to allow for full implementation of all the elements of the MOU within the government set time lines,” the statement read.
The said Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was reached at the end of the meeting held on Thursday, January 2, 2014 between the Nigerian Medical Association and the Federal Government, wherein appeals were made to the NMA by government for more time for the resolution of outstanding demands.
According to the statement, some welcome developments in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached between the NMA and the Federal Government of Nigeria also prompted their decision.
These include the decision by the Federal Government to “redress the gross injustice done to doctors, establishment of a Hospital Development and Intervention Fund (HDIF) for health infrastructural upgrade, appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation, and expansion of Universal Health Coverage.”
The NMA embarked on a 5-day warning strike from Wednesday, December 18 to Sunday, December 22, 2013, with a further declaration to proceed on a total strike from Monday January 6, 2014 if their demands before the Federal Government of Nigeria were not addressed.
Their demands among others, borders on the absence of a regulatory environment for practice in the healthcare sector, funding of healthcare in Nigeria and expansion of Universal Health Coverage to cover all Nigerians, health infrastructural upgrade, and fundamental injustices done to doctors in terms of workplace conditions/conditions of service.