Uncertainty Prevails as NMA Meets on Doctors’ Strike

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Hope that the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) will call off its strike tuesday dimmed monday as the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the body fixed for yesterday to resolve the issues started in the wee hours of the night.

According to an insider the meeting was too impromptu to ensure that members arrived Abuja early enough.
“The closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport for purposes of repairs also compounded the problem,” the source told THISDAY.
Those who arrived early were said to be too fatigued such that they needed to regain their strength before attending the meeting.
The source who did not want his name in print informed THISDAY that “the situation remains dicey regarding the need to call off the strike.

“Of course the NEC would not want to call on doctors any time soon to come out for strike, so everything is being done carefully.
“There are many issues at stake, even though public opinion is against doctors on this strike, doctors have decided to take their own destiny in their own hands,” he stated.

“I can tell you that it will be difficult to call off this strike, but let us keep our fingers crossed,  maybe something good may come out of the meeting,” the source maintained.

All efforts to speak with the NMA President,  Dr. Lawrence Obembe and the  first Vice-President,  Dr Titus Ibekwe, proved abortive as they did not answer their phone calls.

The meeting came on the heels of the federal government insistence that it had met all the demands put forward by the doctors and that the basis of continuing with the strike was   unfounded given that most of the issues had been addressed squarely.
The Minister of Health,  Prof.  Onyebuchi Chukwu, had last weekend explained the position of the government where he argued that  “almost all the issues in contention were either issues that had been satisfactorily resolved or issues that could be treated merely through administrative mechanism.”

Chukwu contended that   “the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was to have apprehended the nationwide strike that was threatened by the association. However, the NMA jettisoned the MoU and proceeded on strike on July 1.”
It is assumed that the NMA will         call off the strike today after the NEC meeting which is expected to last till the early hours of today. Although, there is still the likelihood of ignoring government’s plea, including public outcry against the strike.

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