Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) yesterday reacted to the new policy of the federal government banning medical doctors in public health institutions from engaging in private practices during working hours, describing such as illegal.
The association also asked the federal government to come out clear and define what it meant by working hours because according to it, doctors in public hospitals were already working more that the 40 unites required by law. NMA’s National President, Mike Ogirima, a professor of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, stated this while addressing a press conference in Ilorin to mark the 2017 Physicians. The text of the address was also signed by the association’s SecretaryGeneral, Dr Yusuf Tanko Sununu. The theme for the 20017 Physicians week is ‘‘Declining Immunisation Coverage: Threat to National Development and Security, Way Forward.”
He said: “Th e attempt to stop private practice by doctors working in public health institution is against the law of the land. NMA frowns on our members who use the working hours to attend to their private clinics/hospitals. Government should enforce the law by reconstituting the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria MDCN. Government must not dissolve the MDCN without immediate reconstruction, we want it in perpetuity.
NMA will work in tandem with the government to discipline erring members subjecting them to MDCN’s disciplinary tribunal which has since being in limbo because of lack of MDCN.” Speaking further, the NMA president lamented that in the last two weeks, the NMA had lost six members because they were “overwhelmed with work overload and had stress-related death.”
He said currently doctors in Nigeria were working below the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard which prescribed a ratio of one doctor (1: 600) patients as against one doctor to over to over 200, 000 (1: over 200, 000) patients obtainable in Nigeria. “By law, doctors are supposed to work for only 40 units; we have doctors working for up to 80 units. If you want me to work more than 40 units, pay me for more than 40 units. So, if you want to enforce it, maybe we should start from there.”