by Kolapo Olapoju
President Goodluck Jonathan has authorized the termination of doctors across federal hospitals in Nigeria with immediate effect.
The information was dispersed through a letter signed by a permanent secretary in the Ministry of health, which cited the current challenges facing the health sector as the main factor that necessitated the move.
The letter said, “President Goodluck Jonathan has suspended the residency training programme for doctors in Nigeria indefinitely for the purposes of appraising the challenges facing the health sector,” read the letter. “In line with the above, the Honourable Minister has directed that you issue letters of termination of Residency Training appointment to the affected Resident Doctors in your Hospital immediately.
“The Board of Management is to take all necessary measures to immediately restore full medical services in your hospital. Note however this is without prejudice to the employment of Locum Physicians on six months renewable contract tied to productivity and good behaviour.”
The doctors under the umbrella of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) had embarked on a strike to fight for an improvement in their welfare since the 1st of July and all efforts to resolve the strike as been futile.
The doctors have been criticised by the federal government for refusing to end the strike, especially after the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in Nigeria.
This is not the first time Doctors will be sacked after going on strike. In 2012, Governor Babatunde Fashola dismissed striking Lagos Doctors in response to the refusal of the doctors to end their strike, which had lasted for over two weeks.
The move backfired as the health care system collapsed for duration of their termination, until he called them back to work. It remains to be seen what will be outcome of President Jonathan’s termination of the doctors.