Hope of ending a three-week strike by residents doctors today (Sunday) or tomorrow has been dashed as the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has rejected the new memorandum of understanding presented to them by the Federal Government.
Speaking with journalists on Sunday after a closed-door meeting with the FG’s representatives in Abuja, the President of NARD, Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, said the association did not sign the MoU as a result of an undisclosed clause.
“We rejected the MoU; we didn’t sign it because we feel we are being punished for the failures of those in government,” he said.
He said the nationwide strike would continue and the association would proceed with the court case.
On August 1, resident doctors embarked on a strike over the alleged failure of the federal government to implement an agreement bordering on salaries and allowances.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had dragged the association before the national industrial court over the strike.
The Nigeria Medical Association on Friday led the resident doctors to a meeting summoned at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the nationwide strike.
He, however, added that NARD leadership has to present the new MoU to its members before he could sign the document.
On his part, Ngige said that all other unions in the negotiation including the NMA and the Medical and Dental Consultants of Nigeria had signed the new agreement.
The minister noted that the meeting did not discuss the issue of ‘No Work No Pay’, but that all parties at the meeting agreed to an out-of-court settlement.
He added that the Federal Government would begin implementation of the MoU on Monday.
“The meeting agreed that we need to rest this matter. Therefore, the Budget Office of the federation should start from the 2021 service vote to start paying. And if we have any leftover, we roll it to the 2022,” Ngige said.
The minister also said, “Coming to hazard allowance, everybody agreed that the discussion is still ongoing and therefore government wants to finish it up.
”We agreed with the NMA position to us that they don’t want to discuss holistically anymore as an association and that they have their own peculiarities that are not the same with other health workers.
“We are going to do two meetings, one for NMA and affiliates and one for JOHESU. But we are taking the meetings concurrently so that we don’t run into troubled quarters. We are starting next week.”
Just in: Abia doctors begin strike over kidnap of colleague
Doctors in Abia State have begun an indefinite strike in protest against the kidnap and continued detention of their colleague, Prof. Uwadinachi Iweha.
Iweha was Kidnapped on Sunday June 6, 2022, around 4pm, in front of his house at Umuokpara in Umuahia South Local Government Area.
The doctors had during their earlier protest last Friday, threatened to down tools if after 47 hours their Kidnapped colleague were not released.
Declaring the decision of the doctors Tuesday after a rally and prayer session at the car park of the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, the Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Abia State, Dr Chimezie Okwuonu, said the action was to alert the world that the safety of doctors in the state was no longer guaranteed.
NMA argued that there was no way doctors would continue to provide maximum services amid uncertainties over the safety of their members who are always on duty to serve humanity.
Reading from a prepared speech he co-signed with the Secretary of the body, Dr Robinson Ugwuanyi, the NMA Chairman said:” As an Association deeply involved in the welfare of Medical Doctors in Abia State, we are worried that 9 days down the line, Prof Uwadinachi Iweha is still within the kidnappers Den. This is traumatic, depressing, dehumanising and has instilled a lot of fear within the medical community whose primary objective is to save the life of Abians from the medical point of view.
“The Nigerian Medical Association Abia State hereby condemns the kidnap of its member and calls on the Abia State Government and security apparatus to do all that is necessary to secure his release.
“Our ernest prayer is that his health condition does not deteriorate further and he comes back alive to us and his family.
“The recent spate of kidnap with its attendant consequences on the morale of its citizens has the capability of eroding the achievement we have made, as a state, in the area of security.
“Medical Doctors work all round the clock. This includes normal duties, surgeries, clinical calls, emergencies and administrative duties. The nature and scope of our work involves been on the road any time you are called, as more than 95% of Doctors reside outside their place of work.
“With the current state of fear caused by the kidnap and detention of our colleague, safety cannot be guaranteed and it will be difficult to attend to duties as normal as no one knows who will be the next victim.
Arising from its meeting on Friday 10th June 2022, the NMA Abia State Branch took a peaceful protest to the Government house where it registered its displeasure at the kidnap of its senior medical colleague.
“We were received by the Chief of Staff Chief Okey Ahaiwe, who assured us, on behalf of the Governor, that government will do all the needful to ensure release of its colleague. We are still looking up to this promise.
“Today, Tuesday 14th, the NMA Abia State has commenced a withdrawal of services in both public and private sectors, to register its deep displeasure at this unfortunate incident and give its members time to join the family in searching for its members.
”However, emergency services are still going on to enable our members attend to critical patients.
“We shall also take out time to pray for Prof Iweha and carry out a very peaceful rally to show that we stand by our own in this time of trial. These, in addition to this press conference, are the main three activities for today.
“Our Physicians pledge, as amended by the 68th World Medical Association General Assembly Chicago in 2017 states in line 11 ‘ I will take care of my health and well being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standards’.
“With the kidnap and continued detention of our colleague, we are not assured of our health and well-being as Doctors in this environment; hence may not provide care of highest standard.
“It is our utmost desire that the Government enables a secured release of our colleague and restores the peace and security we enjoy.
The Nigerian Medical Association Abia State wishes to ask its members to pray for Prof Uwadinachi Iweha, and ask any member of the public with useful information about his whereabouts to report to the nearest police station.”
Prof Iweha served as the Chief Medical Director of Abia State University Teaching Hospital Aba; and Abia Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre.
He is currently the Provost of Gregory University College Of Medicine, Umuahia Campus.
420,000 die annually of contaminated food, 600 million fall ill – Minister
Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has said that every year, nearly one in every ten people in the world, an estimated 600 million people fall ill and 420,000 others die after eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances such as heavy metals.
Ehanire disclosed this during an event to mark 2022 World Food Safety Day, adding, over 200 diseases are caused by eating contaminated food.
According to him, food, if not safe, is not food. Food is a health product and the first component of basic health care delivery. The slogan for World Food Safety Day is “Food Safety is Every One’s Business and is a reminder that we all play a role in keeping food safe. This calls for prioritization of food safety throughout the d supply chain, from farm to table.”
He also said, “Children under the age of five are at higher risk of malnutrition and mortality due to unsafe food and they carry 40% of food borne disease burden. Unsafe food causes one in six deaths from diarrhea, a major killer in this age group. World Food Safety Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of unsafe food with governments, producers, handlers and consumers having a role to play in making food safe.”
The Minister noted that unsafe food hinted that World Food Safety Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of unsafe food with governments, producers, handlers and consumers having a role to play in making food safe.
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“Unsafe food hinders development especially on low- and middle-income economies, which lose around US$ 95 billion in productivity associated with illness, disability, and premature death suffered by workers (farmers, processors, handlers and marketers and consumers).
“This is standing in accord with World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the National Food Safety Management Committee (NFSMC) and the global Food Safety Community with the aim to draw attention and inspire action that prevents, detect and manage food borne risks that guarantee safer food for better health.
“In line with this year’s theme “Safer food, better health” emphasizes that all are consumers and food safety counts first for better health. Safe food is essential to human health and well-being. Only when food is safe can we fully benefit from its nutritional value and from the mental and social benefits of sharing a safe meal.
“Safe food is one of the most critical guarantors for good health. Unsafe foods are the cause of many diseases and contribute to other poor health conditions, such as impaired growth and development.
“The good news is that most food borne diseases are preventable. Our behaviour, the way we build food systems and how we organize food supply chains can prevent infectious and toxic hazards, microbial pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites), chemical residues, biotoxins and other noxious or dangerous substances from getting into our plates. We need to transform food systems to deliver better health, and we need to do so in a sustainable manner.
“Food systems policy-makers, practitioners and investors should reorient their activities to increase the sustainable production and consumption of safe foods in order to improve health outcomes, to make safe and healthy diets”, he stated.
Measles kills 14 children in Anambra
The Anambra State government has confirmed the death of 14 children from measles outbreak in nine local government areas of the state.
Commissioner for Health Dr Afam Obidike announced the figure at a news conference in Awka yesterday.
He said that 414 cases of measles were recorded in nine local government areas in the state.
Obidike listed the affected local government areas as Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ihiala, Idemili North, Nnewi North, Onitsha North, Njikoka, and Oyi.
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