Day 5 of the nationwide walk-out, which was declared by the Nigerian Medical Association, has crippled health services in numerous public hospitals in Nigerian cities. The failure of the federal government to approve and fund a list of 24 demands by the country’s physicians prompted the nationwide strike.
The Health Minister said, “As I speak to you, the government has met its own side of the MoU and it is expected that the members of the NMA would from today (Friday) begin to respond and attend to all emergency cases in public hospitals in the spirit of this understanding.
“It is also expected that the NMA will call off the strike after its Emergency Delegates Meeting scheduled for next Monday, July 7, 2014.”
Reacting to the health minister's claim, the NMA president, Dr. Kayode Obembe, said there was no iota of truth in the story, saying the action would continue until a decision was reached to change the current stance.
He said, “The Emergency Delegates Meeting of the NMA will decide on Monday. Others are speculating.”
“In view of all this, I can say that if government keeps its own side of the bargain, there will be no strike in the foreseeable future. But here is the proviso: they must keep their own side of the bargain.”
The NMA president added that, contrary to the notion by some Nigerians that doctors are callous, the Association is a group of people who feel the pain of the ongoing strike.
Dr. Obembe said, “Medical doctors in Nigeria are also human beings. We actually feel bad that the association should degenerate to such a condition. We don’t want to take the lives of the Nigerian citizens for a ride.
“But one thing I want to make clear is that we were also pushed to the wall before we had to go to this length. Some of the things we are talking about now, we have been discussing it for years.
Meanwhile, healthcare cost in both private and public hospital has been inflated to the maximum. Patients have been discharged earlier for no medical care. Emergency care have been denied in both hospitals.