The federal government was given a six-week extension to resolve all outstanding issues by the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria.
Following its National Executive Council meeting yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, MDCAN announced this in a press release.
Its Secretary-General, Dr. Daiyabu Ibrahim, and President, Prof. Muhammad Mohammad, signed the communiqué that was read aloud at a press conference.
Remember that the association issued an ultimatum to the federal government in 2023 that was set to expire on January 31, 2024, and that the Uyo NEC meeting was where the decision to go on strike was to be made?
But the association chose to give the deadline an additional six weeks to allow for consultation with the government.
After the six-week grace period expired, the association declared that it would no longer guarantee industrial harmony if its demands were not met.
The NEC expressed dismay that not much has been accomplished in spite of its repeated interactions with pertinent government agencies regarding the association’s demands.
It also noted that, among other things, the issue of hospital consultants’ retirement age being raised (harmonised) and the shortfall in salaries/income loss experienced by honorary consultants (clinical lecturers) as a result of the government’s failure to apply CONMESS to all medical and dental officers in the public service have not yet been fully addressed.
A portion of the statement says, “NEC decided to extend the earlier deadline provided to the government by six weeks (up to 10/03/2024), to address all pending issues between government and the association. MDCAN cannot guarantee industrial harmony after the expiration of the above ultimatum if its demands are not met.”
NEC also observed that budgetary allocation to the sector has remained at less than 5% of the budget of the country adding that Per Capital spending on health has also shown a marked decline
It also observed that health Care delivery has become more expensive as a result of the inflationary trend and health insurance coverage is very poor.
The communique added, “Government at all levels should endeavour to improve on its budgetary allocation to Heath sector towards attaining the Abuja Declaration of at least 15%.
“Consequently, the government should put strategies in place to improve the economy of the nation to improve the Per capita spending on health of the population.”
While calling on the National Health Insurance Agency to improve its enrollment to accommodate the vulnerable population, NEC advised the government to take steps to mitigate factors responsible for the increase in mental health disorders among medical professionals.
It further advised the government to prioritise Emergency Response Response Services across the country to address issues of morbidity, mortality and the burden of emergency cases.
NEC commiserated with the families of the Ibadan blast and the Oyo state government and called on the government to ensure that rules and regulations concerning the acquisition, transportation and storage of explosives are strictly adhered to.
It further advised all Nigerians particularly health workers to have high suspicion of Lassa Fever and observe necessary precautionary measures.
“MDCAN commiserates with the families of the victims of the Ibadan blast and the Oyo government, the government should ensure rules and regulations concerning the acquisition, transportation, storage and the use of explosives are strictly adhered to and also encourage Nigerians to be more vigilant in their areas of residence to ensure the safety of life and property.
“NEC advises all Nigerians, especially health care workers to have a high index of suspicion of Lassa Fever, and observe Universal Precaution, and the use of PPE”, the communique further stated.