Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria has extended the ultimatum earlier issued to the Federal Government to address all unresolved issues by six more weeks.
According to the body, if by the expiration of the new ultimatum Government fails to meet its demands, its members will embark on indefinite strike without any further warning.
Reall that the medical body, had in 2023, given January 31, 2024, as the expiry date for its earlier ultimatum to Government to meet its demands but, now has decided to shift it by six weeks.
MDCAN met in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State over the weekend, where the resolution to extend the ultimatum by six weeks was reached.
The the position of the medical body was contained in a communique which was read during a press conference signed by its President, Professor Mohammad Mohammad and Secretary-General, Dr. Daiyabu Ibrahim.
MDCAN regretted that despite all previous engagements with Government, nothing positive seems to be coming out of them as Government is yet to fulfill any of its promises.
According to the communique, “the issue of shortfall in salaries/income loss by Honorary consultants (Clinical lecturers) occasioned by the failure of the government to implement universal applicability of CONMESS to all medical and dental officers in public service and increase (harmonisation) in retirement age of hospital consultants, among others are yet to be addressed fully.”
The communique read in part, “NEC resolved to extend the ultimatum earlier given 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.”
It 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.
MDCAN 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 State 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.