Doctors’ Strike: ‘No Work, No Pay’ can destroy Health sector —Ondo NMA writes Tinubu
The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, has described as dangerous for the health sector, the decision of the Federal Government to apply a policy of ‘no work, no pay’ against striking members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in the country.
This is contained in a letter addressed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed by the Ondo State Chairman of the Association, Dr. Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe and the State Secretary, Dr. Adeayo Omotehinse.
In the letter made available to newsmen in Akure, the NMA Chapter notes with concern that implementing such a policy amidst the current backdrop of medical brain drain and rising inflation, intensified by the recent removal of fuel subsidy, could lead to dire consequences for both the health sector and the general populace.
Below is the full text of the letter;
Your Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, President & Commander-in- Chief Of the Armed Forces.
‘NO WORK, NO PAY’ WILL BE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’.
We write this letter with deep concerns for the medical fraternity and the healthcare system in our country. As the representatives of the Medical Association in our dear State, Ondo State, we feel compelled to address the pressing issue of the proposed ‘no work, no pay’ policy against the striking members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in Nigeria and its potential ramifications.
We believe that implementing such a policy amidst the current backdrop of medical brain drain and rising inflation, intensified by the removal of fuel subsidy, could lead to dire consequences for both the health sector and the general populace.
Our country has been facing a significant challenge with medical brain drain for years but this reached a very high level in the last 24 months. Many of our highly skilled and trained medical professionals have sought opportunities abroad due to various reasons, including better remuneration, improved working conditions, and career prospects.
The implementation of the ’no work, no pay’ policy could exacerbate this brain drain, pushing even more healthcare professionals to seek opportunities elsewhere, leaving a significant void in our healthcare system.
Moreover, the removal of fuel subsidy has led to a surge in inflation rates, affecting the cost of living for all citizens. Medical professionals, who play a pivotal role in the well-being of oursociety, may face increased financial strain due to the rising cost of essentials.
This could further demotivate those practicing within the country and drive them towards seeking better opportunities abroad, perpetuating the cycle of medical brain drain.
The implications of these combined challenges on an average citizens’ future are alarming, considering the current ratio of one medical doctor to about 6000 patients against the WHO recommendation of 600 patients to a medical doctor.
It is needless to mention that the gap in patients’ ratio to a doctor will continue to increase astronomically in this circumstance. Therefore, access to quality healthcare may become increasingly limited, with shortages of skilled medical personnel affecting service delivery. This could lead to a public health crisis and a bleak future for the average citizen, where medical care remains a mirage.
In light of these critical concerns, we implore the federal government to carefully reconsider the implementation of the ‘no work, no pay’ policy. Instead, we suggest fostering dialogue with healthcare professionals to address their grievances and work towards comprehensive solutions that promote retention and attract skilled talents back to our healthcare system.
Collaborative efforts and policy adjustments, such as improved remuneration, better working conditions, and career advancement opportunities, can help retain our valuable medical workforce and ensure a brighter future for the average citizen, where quality healthcare is accessible and assured.
Thank you Your Excellency as you painstakingly address these urgent concerns and we sincerely hope that our collective efforts will lead to a healthcare system that thrives for the betterment of all.
Dr. Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe Chairman, NMA Ondo State.