The Vice-President of the Commonwealth Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele has condemned the sacking of 16,000 resident doctors by the Federal Government, describing the decision as ‘ill-advised labour dispute management approach’.
In a press statement issued yesterday in Lagos, Enabulele posited that the decision would worsen the on-going crisis between the Federal Government and the National Association of Resident Doctors and could worsen the challenges of manpower in the sector. He said the sacking is extreme action that can lead to the mass exodus of doctors to foreign hospitals.
“This latest action of the Federal Government clearly indicates that not much has been learnt from previous experiences; or else why would a government no matter how aggrieved apply a most extreme action that has never succeeded in the past or yielded any positive results.
“A similar mass sacking failed under the military regime of 1985 and it failed during the authoritarian dismissal of 774 medical doctors by the Lagos state government in 2012.
“I am most troubled by the use of strong arm tactics by the Federal Government over NARD’s expression of her legitimate demands, particularly when all other avenues to address the issues in dispute were yet to be explored.”
The former NMA president said the Federal Government had failed to implement many of the agreements it signed with the resident doctor’s national body since 2013. Enabulele said that it would be impossible for any government to replace resident doctors who have been in training to become specialists for many years.
“As one who led the negotiation that secured some of the agreements reached with the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2013 and for which enabling circulars were issued, I find it very disturbing that some of these agreements are yet to be implemented, and therefore still a source of recurring disputes.
“Nigeria has an unsatisfactory doctor-patient population ratio of 1; 4,822. With this action of government, the ratio will further decline to about 1: 8, 831. This is a far cry from the expected ratio of 1: 600.
“The country can only boast of about 5,000 Specialist Medical and Dental practitioners to over 170 million Nigerians, with a ratio of 1 medical consultant to 34, 000 Nigerians.We need more doctors, not less.”
He urged the executives of NARD to explore the on-going dialogue with the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and representatives of the ministries of labour, employment and health.