Niger Doctors Give 2-Week Strike Ultimatum Over Working Conditions

Medical practitioners in Niger State, under the auspices of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP), have issued a two-week ultimatum to the state government to look into their grievances or they will down tools.

They demand the resolution of longstanding issues, including irregular promotions and proper placement of doctors by May 30, 2024, or risk a complete shutdown of medical services.

In a letter jointly signed by Dr Mohammed Mustapha Aliyu, the association’s chairman, and Dr Musa Alhaji Shehu, the secretary general, addressed to the Commissioner for Secondary and Tertiary Health, the doctors expressed frustration over what they perceive as the government’s neglect of their concerns over the years.

The letter highlights the outcomes of an emergency health sector stakeholders’ meeting held on April 23, 2024, where critical issues such as consequential adjustments in levels for serving officers, promotion and adjustment of members on contract appointments, implementation of reviewed hazard allowances, the enhanced CONMESS (Consolidated Medical Salary Structure) implemented by the federal government since July 2023, and the accoutrement allowance were discussed.

The association acknowledges previous intervention attempts, expressing gratitude to medical elders, the NMA executives, and other stakeholders for their involvement. Despite withdrawing an earlier notice of industrial action slated for April 30th in anticipation of the government’s response, the association is dismayed by the lack of progress in forming a committee to address critical issues.

The ultimatum stipulates that failure to effect changes in pay structures by May 30, 2024, will lead to the cessation of medical services across the state.

Recent reports from Daily Trust have highlighted the exodus of medical professionals from the state due to issues such as abnormal promotions, stagnation, and poor working conditions. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged swift action from the state government to prevent further deterioration of the public health sector, citing manpower shortages caused by these challenges.

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