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Health News of Monday, 22 February 2021

Source: Punch

Imo NMA suspends strike, doctors resume work today

The Imo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association has suspended its over two months of strike action.

The doctors practising in hospitals and health facilities owned by the Imo State Government are expected to resume today, Monday, February 22.

Recall that the Imo NMA chapter had embarked on strike last November to protest the non-payment of salaries and non-implementation of the revised 2014 Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.

Other reasons the doctors went on industrial action on November 24, 2020, include non-domestication of the Residency Training Act, and loss of accreditation for undergraduate medical education at Imo State University, among others.

Chairman, NMA, Imo State, Dr. Chidiebere Okwara told PUNCH HealthWise that it was suspending the strike following the intervention of the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma.

PUNCH HealthWise had reported that the state MMA wants the restoration of the lost accreditation status for the Imo State University College of Medicine and some faculties in the Imo State Teaching Hospital, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels including the domestication of the Residency Training Act.

Meanwhile, in an interview with our correspondent on Monday, Okwara said the Association had a meeting with the government last Tuesday and after the deliberations, it decided to suspend the strike.

“I will want to bring to your notice that we had a meeting with the government last Tuesday.

“The government team was led by the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, in the company of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Nnamdi Anyaehie and the Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Damaris Osunkwo, and the executive council members of the NMA.

“At the end of the deliberations, we formally suspend the ongoing strike of the NMA.

“The entire hospitals in the state will be opened to all activities today, Monday and we hope that other issues will be addressed.

“We have a strong assurance from the government and we have no doubt that all the issues will be addressed,” he said.

Okwara added that the association reviewed the actions Governor Uzodinma has taken and some of the things that led to the strike have already been addressed.

“The access road to the University Teaching Hospital has already been done and there is quite a lot of infrastructure and developmental changes ongoing in the hospital.

“We have looked at the plights of the medical students who had an ongoing examination before the COVID-19 crisis and the need for them to continue the examination and be able to graduate.

“We also looked at the interest of the good people of Imo State and what this crisis has brought to them.

“The general house resolved that we suspend the strike so that the government can address other issues about the welfare of the doctors, the salary structure, the non-payment of the outstanding salary.

“It’s in the interest of everyone for the system to continue to allow the government to conclude the actions in the health programme,” he said.

The NMA Chairman however assured the government of Imo State of the association’s support to ensure that the health indices are improved in the state.

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