The President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Uche Ojinmah, has issued an ultimatum, stating that the association cannot guarantee industrial harmony in the health sector unless its demands, particularly on welfare, are promptly addressed. The announcement came during the closing ceremony of the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
Dr. Ojinmah stressed the urgency of implementing the newly approved accruement allowance, with arrears dating back to June 2022. Expressing the association’s patience, he called on the federal government to provide clarity on the timeline for the implementation of allowances approved since July 1, 2023.
Highlighting the sacrifices made by doctors, the NMA president urged the government to act swiftly to address the concerns of medical professionals. Additionally, the NMA called for the establishment of mechanisms allowing private hospitals to attend to emergency cases. While commending the directive for doctors in both private and public hospitals to handle medical emergencies, questions arose about the payment for emergency cases in private hospitals.
Dr. Ojinmah emphasized the need for a universal health coverage (UHC) mechanism, where health insurance takes care of emergency cases, especially in private hospitals.
He said, “The basic healthcare fund is supposed to take care of the first 48 to 72 hours of emergency for every Nigerian, this has not been implemented till today. So if you asked a private practitioner to treat people free, he won’t do that. These are issues that should be untangled before we start issuing directive.
“Every private hospital is open for business; some are even running on loan, so let’s stop paying lip service to emergency healthcare and do the right thing,’’.
In a significant move towards humanitarian care, medical doctors have expressed their readiness to adhere to the directive allowing the treatment of gunshot injury patients without the need for police reports. The announcement comes as a positive step towards ensuring prompt medical attention for those in critical conditions.
While endorsing this progressive directive, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Uche Ojinmah, urged the Inspector-General of Police to ensure that police officers comply with the directive. He emphasized the importance of halting unnecessary harassment of doctors involved in the treatment of emergency cases