Lagos – The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos Chapter, has appealed to the Federal Government to reverse its directive and withdraw its circular sacking resident doctors in the country.
The Chairman of NMA, Dr Tope Ojo, made the appeal at a news conference in Lagos on Saturday.
The media recalls that the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, had on August 13, issued a directive terminating the residency training for doctors until further notice.
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Ojo said government should engage the association in dialogue to provide lasting solution to the problems in the health sector.
According to him, such sacking the doctors will not yield positive result and will instead further aggravate the problems in the sector.
“NMA condemns in totality the alleged presidential directive via the Federal Ministry of Health suspending residency training in the country.”
“It could be recalled that such action was taken in 1985 during Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s regime.”
The Lagos State Government also sacked some striking doctors in Lagos on May 7, 2012.
“These actions had not yielded positive results and can never stand the test of time.”
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“Government should show commitment in resolving the current impasse with the NMA rather than resorting to punitive measures that will only further aggravate the already deplorable situation,” he said.
Ojo said that the current strike would continue and that the immediate reversal of the sack remained the only condition to resume talks with government.
He, however, advised the affected doctors against collecting any sack letter or signing any register opened in any hospital.
Dr Olusegun Akinwotu, the President, Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, said that such sack would have negative implications on the sector.
Akinwotu said that it would have huge effect on the operations of the hospital, as 50 to 70 per cent of the doctors in government hospitals were resident doctors.
“It will affect medical schools as they will remain shut because these doctors contribute about 50 per cent to the training of medical students.”
“All major surgical operations will remain cancelled in all teaching hospitals because the consultants by default perform all major surgeries with the assistance of their resident doctors.”
“It might even escalate the current Ebola scourge because the majority of the volunteers involved are resident doctors.”
Dr Babajide Shared, the Secretary of the association, said the sack of resident doctors would affect patients negatively.
Shared said that there would be increased list of awaiting patients, delay in surgery appointments and even delay in attending to emergency cases.
“The consultants need the resident doctors to effectively carry out the task of patient care.”