Right Honourable Dogara Yakubu,
Federal House of Representatives,
National Assembly Secretariat,
APPRECIATION OF YOUR INTERVENTION IN NARD DISPUTE
I bring you greetings from the Office of the Sub-Regional Executive Director/Coordinator for West Africa of Junior Doctors of Africa (JDA).
JDA is the umbrella body of doctors who are below the level of medical consultants in Africa and an affiliate of the World Medical Association. JDA has a mandate to promote and protect the interest of Resident Doctors in Africa with a view of ensuring a better standard of health care delivery and their welfare in Africa.
The current medical challenges and drama in the Nigeria Health Sector have caught our attention as an Association and the sad tale that thousands of Nigerian doctors were sacked have drawn our gaze to this unfortunate decision.
As you know Your Excellency, Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa, so a health crisis of the magnitude that is being steered up will have negative ripple effect with far reaching catastrophic effects in the region first and in Africa in general.
Your Excellency, Nigeria is faced with a lot of issues and the consequences of the action or inaction of not addressing these problems have created a lot of security challenges, violence and humanitarian disaster with far reaching health implications just to list a few.
Our Hippocratic brothers in Nigeria have reached out to us with a lot of documents and our preliminary investigation on the Nigerian health sector challenges are mind blowing.
Any human with conscience and dignity must feel disturbed by the drama playing out in Africa most populous nation.
Doctors in Nigeria and outside the country all agree the unprecedented story of the mass sack of Nigerian doctors with some African doctors who by extension are married to Nigerian is a shameful act and further confirms the collapse of the health sector, this we hear is because they ask to be paid as doctors, and are salaries owed this group ranging from 4 months to 7 months, one can only imagine what other ordinary citizens or worker will be experiencing about this time.
Thankfully, we are happy that the National Medical Association in Nigeria called the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) led by Prof. Mike Ogirima, have been working strongly with other affiliate groups to condemn this action by the agent of the government on Resident Doctors and their leaders.
I must at this point equally thank His Excellency Right Honourable Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives in Nigera, for saving the Medical profession and Government of national and international embarrassment that would have resulted.
Your timely intervention saved over 44,000 jobs, sincerely your rejection and condenmation of such action has resonated all through Africa. Your Excellency, you have prevented a humanitarian disaster of epic magnitude as the story filtered in 2 days ago.
The leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria led by Dr. Askira Muhammad commended you in his briefing to JDA following your meeting in Abuja.
He informed us that your proactive and transparent way has handled this developing impasse.
Truthfully, working together as one united group both government and health workers will help change and advance healthcare in your country.
The constant sickening culture of sack of thousands of Nigerian doctors by various Nigerian governments is not in the interest of the nation.
This warped creed is not consistent with international best practices, considering the current realities in Nigeria as deposited in this letter, it is ill timed especially when we heard that fruitful negotiation was almost been reached through the intervention of His Excellency, Right Honourable Yakubu Dogara.
Government agency saddled with the responsibility of regulating health must focus to sustain health care and not carrying out actions that are not properly thought out, within the context of democracy. These actions are not acceptable. What is required now is leadership and your Excellency, you have demonstrated this.
Genuine leadership is never about the spectacle of wisdom or the accomplished credential an individual has, it’s more about a collective encompassing determination that the individual with help from all stakeholders can give which can help steer a nation from drifting off the path of development.
Leadership equally is about reciprocating respect and felicity from stakeholders, and in the event of a dispute as evidenced in the health sector in Nigeria, leadership is about sharing ideas, encouraging constant positive debate on the way forward from stakeholders, until you both reach an acceptable consensus. Sadly this fundamental principle was not followed and has led to this commendable action from Ministry of Health by our association, Commonwealth Medical Association, National Association of Resident Doctors, Nigerian Medical Association, Medical and Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria and other affiliates international organizations.
We plead that all forms of disruptive illustrations or actions be stopped to give room for meaningful negotiations which you currently chair, and we will send our representatives to the next meeting.
One of the cardinal benefit any government in Africa can extend to her citizens is a GOOD HEALTH CARE SYSTEM with properly motivated workforce that is properly remunerated at all levels of government.
Nigeria Government must give a sense of belonging to the relevant stakeholders who equally are citizens and make the environment conducive for them to contribute productively to rendering all the forms of health treatment.
It was confirmed from preliminary report that in a state in the South-West of Nigeria (Osun State), a doctor decided to be a cab driver, just to survive and feed his family, since he has not received salaries for over 7 months. He explained that he preferred to drive a cab than to consult in a clinic. I can only imagine the humanitarian health challenges in such a state, where most citizens live below 1 dollar per day.
This depressing narrative from Nigeria requires government asserting quickly a guiding normative pattern to solving the problem.
First, the sacking or alleged sack of Resident Doctors must be reversed and such actions never to be repeated. This is to allow the current intervention of the Speaker of the National Assembly to be concluded.
Secondly, government at all levels must imbibe values that will enhance health care delivery while ensuring fairness and equity within the health sector and must tolerate and listen to agitation, ideas from stakeholders.
Thirdly, kick start genuine health care system restructuring for the benefit of her citizens.
These attributes of engagement as highlighted above must never be traded for promotion of cronyism, nepotism , tribal, regional and religious sentiments.
They are solely for the advancement of the health sector, which can’t be etched in half-measure solutions or ill thought ideas but must be around the table of sincere dialogue.
Once again, Your Excellency, NARD has asked we thank you for your timely intervention on the matter.
I sincerely appreciate the NMA leadership led by Prof. Ogirima, and all the international medical associations who intervened. Our appreciation goes to Dr. Aman Yousef (Chair of JDA), and Dr. Osahon Enabulele (Vice-President of Commonwealth Medical Association) for his quick condemnation and support for Specialist Care in Nigeria. I also appreciate other affiliate head especially MDCAN leadership Prof Garko and NARD leadership led by Dr. Mohammed Askira and other National Officers.
Your Excellency, you can count on JDA at all times. Africa appreciates your intervention.
We plead that both Government and the various medical associations in Nigeria work together to remold the fragile healthcare system in Nigeria.
Long live WMA!
Long live CWMA!
Long live JDA!
Long live NMA!
Long live NARD!
Long live the Federal Rebulic of Nigeria!
Dr. Gbujie C. Daniel
Junior Doctors of Africa
Regional Executive Director/Coordinator for West Africa
World Medical Association