The Nigerian Medical Association has punctured the claim by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu that the ongoing doctors’ strike will end on Monday (tomorrow).
The Minister, had on Friday expressed optimism that the nationwide strike, which began on July 1, would be immediately called off after the NMA’s Emergency Delegates Meeting slated for Monday.
Prof. Chukwu was quoted as saying during a press conference in Abuja: “As I speak to you, the government has met its own side of the MoU and it is expected that the members of the NMA would from today (Friday) begin to respond and attend to all emergency cases in public hospitals in the spirit of this understanding.
“It is also expected that the NMA will call off the strike after its Emergency Delegates Meeting scheduled for next Monday, July 7, 2014”.
Responding, NMA president, Dr. Kayode Obembe, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, said it was mere speculation that the strike would be called off tomorrow, saying the industrial action would continue until the doctors’ demands were met.
He said, “The Emergency Delegates Meeting of the NMA will decide on Monday. Others are speculating.
“In view of all this, I can say that if government keeps its own side of the bargain, there will be no strike in the foreseeable future. But here is the proviso: they must keep their own side of the bargain”.
The NMA president explained that contrary to the notion held by a section of Nigerians that doctors are insensitive to the plight of their patients, the association is made up of people who feel the plight of Nigerians and laid the blame for recurring strikes in the sector at the door steps of the Federal Government, who he accused of pushing the association ‘to the wall’.
Dr. Obembe said, “Medical doctors in Nigeria are also human beings. We actually feel bad that the association should degenerate to such a condition. We don’t want to take the lives of the Nigerian citizens for a ride.
“But one thing I want to make clear is that we were also pushed to the wall before we had to go to this length. Some of the things we are talking about now, we have been discussing it for years”.