The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, of hate speech with a potency to further worsen the crisis in the nation’s health sector.
NMA in reaction to the Ministers interview on ‘Channels Television’ on Friday said contrary to his comments that resident doctors in developed countries were responsible for their payment of their residency training, the doctors work while running their training programme and are paid by their employers.
A statement signed by President of the NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah and Secretary General, Dr Philips Ekpe on Saturday in Abuja, expressed total disagreement with the insensitive way and manner some government functionaries carry out their duties’ without considering the plight of the people.
Commending the Federal Government’s efforts to resolve the issues which led to the ongoing strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), the NMA said the strike was unnecessary as it could have been avoided
The statement reads in part: “In the interview, the Honourable Minister alleged that in the United States of America (USA) and other developed countries, Resident Doctors pay for their residency training abroad, whereas in Nigeria, the government pays them.
“The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) wishes to clarify the misinformation by the Honourable Minister in the interview, which is seriously viewed to be a hate speech capable of bringing down the health system in Nigeria and thereby worsening the health care delivery and further escalate the rather unimaginable current brain drain.
“In the United States of America and other developed countries, Resident Doctors work as they are being trained and they are paid by their employers. In the United Kingdom, the employer of Resident Doctors is the NHS, which is similar to what is obtainable in Nigeria.
“Furthermore, Residents also pay to take their postgraduate Medical examinations in the developed countries, which is what also obtains in Nigeria. The NMA is totally in disagreement with the way and manner some government functionaries carry out their duties’ which is completely insensitive to the plight of the people. Accountability is the fulcrum for good governance in all facets and we do not demand anything less from those charged with the responsibility of governing the people.”
The NMA further advised that one way of resolving the lingering crisis in the Nigerian health sector and addressing the rising incidence of brain drain, was for the government to prioritise and improve the healthcare delivery to Nigerians and also improve on the welfare of Medical practitioners and other health workers.