As the strike action of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) enters its fourth week, partially paralysing activities in government hospitals across the country, the Ekiti State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said that hospitals in the state are open and doctors available for the health care needs of the people of the state.
The NMA said doctors are working “as much as possible in the face of the present situation.” The NMA, in a statement in Ado Ekiti, on Wednesday, said “doctors are not on strike and are available in all health institutions in the state to attend to their health needs, despite the ongoing strike by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).”
In the statement signed by the NMA chairman in the state, Dr Sunday Omoya and the secretary, Dr Kenneth Onyebuilo, the doctors said “the current situation in our health sector requires urgent attention to end the unhealthy rivalry and practices alien to international standards.”
Ekiti NMA however condemned what it said was “the illegal and unethical practice of locking up government properties such as hospital equipment and department offices during industrial actions,” and requested that “the heads of all institutions should immediately address the issue and the government at various levels should take actions to prevent the recurrence of such in the future.”
The doctors explained that they were not opposed to improved welfare for allied medical professionals, saying “it is however important to state that this must not be done contrary to international best practices.”
Ekiti NMA, while reacting to the ongoing strike by the JOHESU, noted that “a professional should request for remuneration not only because of the sector it operates but also because of the responsibilities and expectations bestowed on it.”
They argued that “a course of study cannot be assessed based on the duration of the course only but also by the requirements for intake, content and curriculum of the programme,” and further contended that “to reduce the difference between medical doctors and allied medical professionals to the duration of their courses in the university is mischievous and unreasonable.”
The doctors declared that “relativity is sacrosanct and not negotiable,” pointing out that “to suggest that after some years of practice the pay of all health workers from a particular level should be the same is unimaginable.”
By: Rotimi Ojomoyela Ado-Ekiti
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