The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been issued a two-month ultimatum by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) to pay its members the newly approved hazard allowance.
The ultimatum was contained in a communique issued at the end of the NMA’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Sunday, in Gombe State, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
NMA in the communiqué signed by its president and secretary-general, Uche Ojinmah and Jide Onyekwelu respectively, said it would continue to engage the government through lawful means to ensure the payment of the allowance.
“NEC observed with joy the fact that the Delta State government has already started paying the newly approved hazard allowance,” NMA explained.
NMA, however, regretted the slow progress towards implementing the new hazard allowance, while describing the attempt to exclude doctors in ministries, departments, agencies (MDAs) and basic medical faculties in universities as unacceptable.
“NEC also insisted on universal applicability in the implementation of the new hazard allowance for all doctors working in federal, state and local government establishments.”
On the issue of brain drain of medical doctors, the association said it was disappointed with the failure of government at all levels to address the “push” factors propelling brain drain.
The medical association further noted that unless governments deployed drastic measures to stem the tide of brain drain, the already bad national health indices may eventually spiral out of control, thereby leaving Nigeria at the bottom rung among the comity of nations.
According to the communique, the doctors decried the Buhari regime’s action through the federal health ministry in sponsoring a bill on the “Establishment of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Regulatory Board” in Nigeria.
NMA also mentioned that the group observed that the bill’s components would conflict with the statutory functions of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).
The association advocated strict international health travel measures, improved international cooperation and data sharing, and rebuilt public health infrastructure to prevent and control vector-borne and zoonotic diseases.
It added that the government should institute multidisciplinary collaboration using the “One Health” approach for prompt diagnosis and treatment and conduct primary and translational research in managing infectious diseases.