The Nigeria Medical Association has given the payment of October and November salaries of striking doctors in Osun State as a precondition for the suspension of its five-month-old strike.
The NMA Chairman in the state, Dr. Suraj Ogunyemi, said this in a telephone interview with our correspondent in Osogbo on Sunday.
The NMA chairman said the suspension of the strike depended on how the state government handled the wage issue
Ogunyemi said that doctors would suspend their strike if they were paid the October and November salaries.
He said, “The suspension of the strike or otherwise depends on the government. The government should pay even if it is just for October and November.
“The stoppage of the stipends the government was paying aggravated the crisis and the longer the problem festers, the worse it becomes.
“The minimum they can do is to pay October and November stipends to the doctors but the government people are saying they would not pay until the doctors resume. Government should do something to prevent the crisis from escalating. “
But the President of the Association of Resident Doctors at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Osogbo, Dr. Adeyinka Owolabi, who spoke to our correspondent in a separate interview, said the NMA would hold an emergency meeting on Thursday over the issue.
Owolabi said the body might declare a total and state-wide strike after the meeting.
Owolabi said the strike by the resident doctors at LAUTECH was still on and would not be suspended unless the government acceded to their demands.
He said the NMA would intervene in the crisis and its involvement might lead to a more drastic action which would paralyse the state’s health sector.
Owolabi said he read in the newspapers that the House of Assembly was talking to the members of the Osun State Association of Medical and Dental Officers, but the lawmakers were not in touch with the ARD.
The Chairman of OSAMDO, Dr Isiaka Adekunle, when contacted on the telephone, told our correspondent that the association was working to see how the strike could be suspended but he stated that this would be determined by the position of the NMA.
Adekunke had promised the Osun State House of Assembly during a meeting with the lawmakers that he would take their plea to the congress of the association and would feed the House back whatever decision they arrived at.
He, however, said on Sunday that the NMA decision would take precedence over whatever the decision of OSAMDO would be.
He said, “We are working on the suspension of the strike but the NMA has intervened. The NMA’s decision will override whatever our decision is because we don’t want to be at loggerheads with them.
“We will allow the NMA to take their decision before we will say anything.”
It will be recalled that the doctors had on September 28, 2015 declared an indefinite action following the payment of half salaries to them by the state government.
The state government gave the doctors two separate ultimatum to end the strike or consider themselves sacked but the doctors were not bothered.
The state government had also advertised their positions but the NMA warned doctors against applying for the jobs and threatened to frustrate any plan to bring in foreign doctors to replace the striking doctors.