DOCTORS' STRIKE: Will the NMA be banned?
Day 30 : NMA Nationwide Strike Continues
As sad as it is to comprehend , the truth remains that doctors in government Hospitals across Nigeria under the aegis of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have been on nationwide strike for the past one month over irreconcilable differences and alleged breach of trade union agreement.
Series of talks between government representatives and officials of federal government have so far failed to result in concrete agreement and hence the strike continues to linger as it enters it's second month , to the detriment of a large populace who cannot afford the cost of healthcare offered by the private hospitals.
IS THIS TRUE?
There are purported reports in some section of the media suggesting that the Federal Government plans to take drastic steps towards ending the 30-day old strike. This may include banning the NMA, followed by the privatisation of public health institutions. The no work, no pay principle will then be enforced, and doctors who are interested will be protected to resume duties while new ones will be employed to take the place of those who are not.
In my opinion, if these plans are indeed true , it only goes to show how ignorant the Government is when it comes to the organisation of multi-tier health services for a country.
What happens to the laws that established tertiary institutions? What happens to the training of medical students and residents when the Teaching hospitals become privatised? Will the Laws of the Federal Republic be changed so that the "now" Private hospitals will serve the primary functions (mainly training and research) as defined in the Acts that established the hospitals as opposed to making profits.
Where will the Ministry of Health find the doctors to replace the present crop? Will retired doctors be recalled in addition to unemployed doctors, and perhaps some who are practising abroad in countries where doctors receive ideal incentives who agree to return home. Will the Ministry of Health reconstitute the entire health sector and import foriegn doctors keeping in mind that there are presently a meagre 30,000 or so Nigerian doctors in practice.
I guess we just have to wait to see what "great" plans the Government comes up with to salvage the state of an already inadequate health sector. TIME WILL TELL!