PRESS BRIEFING BY THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (NMA) AT THE END OF NMA’S EMERGENCY NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (NEC) MEETING HELD ON SATURDAY 4th JANUARY, 2014 AT PAULIHAM HOTEL AND RESORT, GWARINPA, ABUJA.
Our great friends of the fourth estate of the realm,
On behalf of the Nigerian Medical Association I respectfully welcome you to this press briefing, the first by NMA in this New Year, and also wish you a happy and prosperous 2014.
You will recall that at the expiration of her 4th extended 21day ultimatum to the Federal Government of Nigeria the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) had risen from an Emergency Delegates Meeting (EDM) held at Minna, Niger State capital on Saturday December 14, 2013, and directed all Medical and Dental Practitioners in Nigeria's Public health sector to embark on a 5-day warning strike action which held from Wednesday 18th December to Sunday 22nd December, 2013, with a further declaration to proceed on a total strike action from Monday 6th January, 2014 if her demands before the Federal Government of Nigeria were not addressed. These demands as you know bother amongst others 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, fundamental injustices done to doctors in terms of workplace conditions/conditions of service, and other health sector challenges.
It was in the light of the above that the Association convened an emergency National Executive Council (E-NEC) meeting in Abuja on Saturday, January 4, 2014 to reappraise the efforts made so far to resolve the demands of the Association.
In attendance at the emergency NEC meeting were the State branches of the NMA and the Federal Capital Territory branch, Affiliate bodies of the NMA, Immediate Past President and Elders of the Medical Profession.
At the end of exhaustive deliberations at the meeting the following observations and resolutions were reached:
1) The NEC noted the efforts and the personal commitment of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces, and the Federal Government of Nigeria to address some of the demands of the association, including the demand for health infrastructuralupgrade, universal health coverage for Nigerians, appointment of a Surgeon-Generalof the Federation, and the redress of the gross injustice done to Nigerian doctors over time.
2) The NEC noted the several honest appeals made by the toiling and well-meaning people of Nigeria and our friends in the fourth estate of the realm for more time to be given by NMA for dialogue with government.
3) The NEC also appraised the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 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 other outstanding demands.
4) The NEC noted the intervention and fervent appeal of the Executive Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, CON, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim GCON, the Hon Ministers of Health and Labour and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, with a promise to conclusively resolve the outstanding demands of the NMA.
1) In appreciation of:
(i) the possible impact of withdrawal of services by medical and dental practitioners in Nigeria on ordinary Nigerians;
(ii) the several honest appeals made by the toiling and well-meaning people of Nigeria and our friends in the fourth estate of the realm for more time to be given by NMA for dialogue with government;
(iii) the on-going efforts and commitment of the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led Federal Government of Nigeria to address some of the demands of the NMA;
(iv) some welcome developments in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached between the NMA and the Federal Government of Nigeria, including 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-Generalof the Federation, and expansion of Universal Health Coverage;
(v) the intervention and fervent appeal of the Executive Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, CON; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; the Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu; the Honourable Minister of Labour & Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, CON; Elders of the Medical Profession, including Prof.Umaru Shehu;
the Emergency 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.
Accordingly, all medical and dental practitioners nationwide are hereby directed to continue to render their normal and highly cherished services to the lovely and caring people of Nigeria.
2) The Nigerian Medical Association shall at the appropriate time reappraise the commitment of the Federal Government to her self-determinedtime lines for the full implementation of the MOU signed with the Association, and take appropriate actions as she might deem fit
The Nigerian Medical Association wishes to place on record her appreciation of the solidarity and total commitment of all her members who are toiling hard to sustain Nigeria’s healthcare system despite the challenging healthcare environment and attempts to undermine the medical profession, professionalismand best practices.
The Association appreciates the efforts and commitment of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR to transparently address the demands of the NMA. In particular, the Association greatly applauds Mr President on his firm decision to appoint a Surgeon-Generalof the Federation whose roles will undoubtedly help to address some of the problems confronting the Nigerian State, including the address of the burgeoning negative impact of medical tourism on Nigeria, amongst other responsibilities.
The Nigerian Medical Association wishes to also express her appreciation of the great understanding and support shown by Nigerians and our friends in the fourth estate of the realm in the current struggle of the Nigerian Medical Association.
The Association also wishes to place on record her profound appreciation of the intervention of the Executive Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, CON.
We also appreciate the intervention of members of the Executive and Legislative arms of government, particularly the Senate President, Senator David A.B. Mark, GCON; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal CFR; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim,GCON; the Hon. Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, CON; the Hon. Minister of Health, Prof C.O.Onyebuchi Chukwu; the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, OON; the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa; the Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Health, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; the Chairman of Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule MFR, the Director-General of the Budget Office, and all other dedicated officers of government. We urge them to keep fate with the timelines set for the full actualization of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Nigerian Medical Association in order to build the Association’s confidence in the system.
We are extremely grateful to the media for their understanding and reassuring support.
We assure Nigerians that we are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices and take necessary actions to salvage Nigeria’s health system and protect their right to quality healthcare services in the overall interest of their health, given the necessary enabling environment.
We wish all Nigerians a splendid and prosperous New Year 2014.
God bless Nigeria.
Dr. Osahon Enabulele
President, Nigerian Medical Association;
Vice President (WAR), Commonwealth Medical Association;
5th January, 2014
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