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Lagos Doctors Commence Strike

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com


LAGOS, August 14, (THEWILL) - Medical practitioners under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors and Association of Lagos State Government Employed Medical Doctors on Friday commenced an indefinite strike action, until the consolidated medical salary structure is duly implemented.

But Lagos State Government has appealed to the striking medical practitioners, urging the bodies to choose the path of dialogue rather than inflicting unnecessary pains on the health sector.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris made this call at a news conference held in the state secretariat, adding that the demand of the two medical bodies would cost the state government a sum of N1.8 billion monthly, which he said, would be too enormous to adequately pay for now.

Speaking at the conference, the Commissioner along with Special Adviser on Health, Mr. Toyin Amzat and Director of Media and Public Relations, Mr. Segun Adedokun, said the frequent call for strike action when "has put health in the front burner leaves a lot to be desired."

He however said the agreement to implement the demand of the striking medical doctors was reached between the Federal Government and National Medical Association (NMA) at the federal level without any involvement and negotiations with the various states in the federation.

He added that the administration of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) "was already implementing a salary structure that was mutually agreed upon last year.

"This is unheard of in any country worth its salt and contrary to the oath of the medical profession. But our government remains open to dialogue and will continue to do so with the relevant and legal groups, provided that no threat or blackmail is involved. We have called the groups for dialogue."

He lamented that that some consultants "have also abandoned their duty posts since Thursday. The state government is doing its best in the given circumstance and will not wish to be pushed to the wall. Our commitment to the health sector is unshaken."

He stated that the state government had set up a committee "to look into the issues. Government remains open to further dialogue on the matter in the overriding public interest. It is on record that the group embarked on the warning strike a few days ago in spite of our appeal as well as drawing the attention of their members to the appropriate processes and channels," he said.