resident Goodluck Jonathan has approved the sack of doctors across federal hospitals in Nigeria, citing the current challenges facing the health sector as the reason for the action.
The doctors under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) had embarked on a strike to press home their demand for an improvement in their welfare on July 1 and several attempts to resolve the issue have ended in a stalemate.
The government had earlier accused the doctors of neglecting their oath to protect lives and continue to turn down the request to suspend the strike, particularly during the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus and the ongoing insurgency in some parts of the country.
In a letter signed on behalf of the health minister by L. N. Awute, a permanent secretary in the ministry of health, the president ordered that the action should take immediate effect.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has suspended the residency training programme for doctors in Nigeria indefinitely for the purposes of appraising the challenges facing the health sector,” read the letter.
“In line with the above, the Honourable Minister has directed that you issue letters of termination of Residency Training appointment to the affected Resident Doctors in your Hospital immediately.
“The Board of Management is to take all necessary measures to immediately restore full medical services in your hospital. Note however this is without prejudice to the employment of Locum Physicians on six months renewable contract tied to productivity and good behavior.”
In an interview with TheCable, one of the affected doctors condemned the development, stating that it is an indication that government does not know its priority.
“The federal government should have asked the government of Lagos state that tried toeing that lane, the end result of such action,” she said.
“Simply because we demanded for our rights they are attempting to intimidate us. Anyway, let us see who blinks first.”
A source told TheCable that the federal government had directed that locum doctors and doctors in military hospitals should be employed pending the time that the doctors are replaced.
Governor Babatunde Fashola adopted a similar stance when the medical doctors in Lagos State went on strike two years ago before the crisis was finally resolved.
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