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NMA issues ultimatum on salary review

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By Abraham Adekunle

Doctors threaten nationwide strike as the group readies for a shutdown.

In a recurrent standoff, medical doctors and health workers in Nigeria are on the brink of a potential strike, citing the government’s failure to review and implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS). The Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) serves as the standardized pay scale for medical and dental officers in the federal public service. Expressing frustration over past government inaction, medical professionals, including doctors, are once again contemplating withdrawal of their services if the federal government does not enact the anticipated salary structure adjustments.

Under the banner of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), doctors have set a deadline for the government to implement the salary review – a critical step toward addressing their longstanding concerns. The President of NMA, Uche Ojinmah, delivered this ultimatum during a press briefing following the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja. Ojinmah emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that the government must act before January 31 or face potential industrial action within the health sector. He warned that the NMA could not assure continued industrial harmony if the government fails to meet their demands.

Almost a year-long anticipation by healthcare practitioners.

During the press conference, Ojinmah not only urged the government to implement the salary review but also appealed for the prompt execution of the newly approved accruement allowance, including arrears dating back to June 2022. Despite the approval on June 1, 2023, he expressed uncertainty about the timeline for implementing all approved allowances, emphasizing the need for the government to fulfill its commitments. Highlighting the delayed implementation, Ojinmah clarified that the upward review of CONMESS was originally slated to take effect from January 2023.

Of course, the government’s delay has resulted in an almost year-long period of anticipation. Although recognizing the government’s positive move in addressing certain agreements, Ojinmah emphasized the crucial need for full implementation. He highlighted the significance of honouring agreements as per the terms established in previous administrations. The Nigerian government’s hesitation to accept the doctors’ demands may stem from financial constraints, bureaucratic challenges, or a broader reluctance to commit to comprehensive changes within the healthcare system.

Some strike actions that Nigerian doctors have embarked on.

Nigerian doctors have embarked on several strike actions over the years, highlighting systemic issues within the healthcare sector. One notable instance occurred in 2014 when members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) went on a nationwide strike to protest poor working conditions, inadequate facilities, and the lack of a functional healthcare system. This strike significantly disrupted medical services across the country, with doctors demanding better infrastructure and improved welfare for healthcare professionals.

Another notable strike took place in 2020 when the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) initiated a strike to draw attention to issues such as salary arrears, inadequate protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lack of life insurance for healthcare workers. This strike, amidst the global health crisis, underscored the urgency of addressing the longstanding challenges faced by healthcare professionals in Nigeria. Both instances of strike actions reflect the ongoing struggle of Nigerian doctors to secure improved working conditions, fair compensation, and a healthcare system that adequately supports both medical practitioners and the communities they serve.

What the government can do to resolve these issues.

Resolving the persistent issue of doctors’ strikes in Nigeria requires a multi-faceted approach from the government. Firstly, there is a need for transparent and consistent communication between healthcare professionals and government representatives to address grievances promptly. Adequate funding for the healthcare sector is essential, focusing on improving infrastructure, providing modern medical equipment, and ensuring healthcare workers receive competitive salaries. Implementing robust health insurance schemes for doctors can alleviate concerns about financial security. The government should also prioritize regular and fair evaluations of working conditions and promptly address concerns to prevent escalations leading to strikes. Establishing a collaborative platform involving medical associations, government officials, and relevant stakeholders can foster a constructive dialogue to identify and resolve systemic issues within the healthcare system, ensuring the well-being of both medical practitioners and the Nigerian populace.

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2 months ago

NMA issues ultimatum on salary review. – Doctors threaten nationwide strike as the group readies for a shutdown. – Express your point of view.

Adeoye Adegoke
2 months ago

It’s concerning to hear about the NMA issuing an ultimatum on salary review and the potential nationwide strike. It’s essential for doctors to have fair compensation for their hard work and dedication to providing healthcare services to the public.
While I understand the frustrations that may lead to such actions, it’s important to find a balance between the needs of the healthcare professionals and the overall sustainability of the healthcare system. Adequate funding and fair compensation for doctors are crucial to attract and retain skilled medical professionals, ensuring the availability of quality healthcare services for everyone.
It’s my hope that both the NMA and relevant authorities can engage in constructive dialogue to address the concerns and find a resolution that benefits both doctors and the healthcare system as a whole. The well-being of the doctors and the accessibility of healthcare services are both vital for the overall health of the nation.
In the meantime, it’s important for all parties involved to prioritize the well-being of patients and explore alternative solutions to address the concerns raised by the NMA. Open and transparent communication can help foster understanding and lead to a more sustainable and equitable healthcare system.
Let’s hope for a positive outcome that ensures the fair treatment of doctors and the uninterrupted provision of healthcare services to the public.

2 months ago

NMA issues a deadline for reviewing salaries. As they prepare for a shutdown, doctors vow to go on a national strike.The NMA’s requests should be complied with by the government. In this difficult Nigerian climate, they are performing incredibly well. Why haven’t they evaluated their pay, I wonder?The country’s general health depends on both the accessibility of healthcare services and the well-being of the medical community.

2 months ago

Because the federal government has not reviewed and implemented changes to the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, medical professionals and other health workers in Nigeria are on the verge of a potential strike. Should these changes not be enacted, the strike would be a significant step toward resolving their long-standing grievances.