President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Abdulwahed Omar, has called for the immediate reinstatement of the resident doctors who were recently sacked by the Federal Government.
Omar said in an electronic mail on Monday that the decision of the government should be reversed in view of the current health challenges facing the country.
He said that the Federal Government was given the wrong advise to sack the striking doctors, arguing that rather than sacking the doctors, the Federal Government should employ more health workers and devote the expected attention to the provision of necessary equipment in the health sector.
He said that the sacking of the doctors was unnecessary in view of the grave challenge currently posed by the Ebola Virus Disease.
Omar said that it was precarious to sack doctors en mass in a country like Nigeria where available doctors were grossly inadequate with a ratio of one doctor to 5,000 citizens.
He said, “The recent mass dismissal of resident doctors in federal hospitals across the country by the Federal Government is ill-advised, and therefore should be re-considered and reversed given prevailing health challenges.
“What the country needs urgently is recruitment of more health professionals, well equipped public hospitals, and a well-organised health system capable of responding to the health concerns of our growing population and not sacking of any category of health personnel.
“We believe the Federal Government was misadvised and also misled by this action.
“It is clearly unwarranted to sack doctors just as we are collectively faced with the challenge of the Ebola virus. It is even more dangerous to sack medical personnel in a country of over 170 million people with a ratio of one doctor to over 5,000 patients.”
He urged the government to give special attention to the protection of health workers, who were more endangered by the Ebola outbreak by providing them with the requisite work tools and motivation.
The labour leader also advised the government to audit the public health sector with a view to determining the state of equipment, personnel and funding in the sector.
“The Federal Government needs to carry out an urgent audit of our public health sector to determine the state of the sector in terms of equipment, personnel and funding,” the NLC boss said.