Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan issued a statement ordering the sacking of 16, 000 resident medical doctors on Thursday in the wake of the Ebola epidemic.
In an internal memo obtained by Sahara reporters, Jonathan directed the Federal ministry of Health to suspend all residency training for doctors in Nigeria.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, L.N. Awute said, “Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR has suspended the Residency Training Programme for Doctors in Nigeria indefinitely for the purposes of appraising the challenges facing the health sector,” Mr. Awute said.
Akute stated that the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, had issued “letters of termination of residency training” to all affected resident doctors in hospitals immediately.
All public hospitals were also urged to reinstate full medical activities in their hospitals regardless of the absence of the doctors who typically make up a large part of the public hospital work force in Nigeria.
In response, the President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, Jubril Abdullahi,called the decision ‘illegal’.
“The action of Mr. President is illegal because there are several Acts that recognize Residencies in Nigeria and his action speaks volume of the government’s decision to follow the dictates of the Joint Health Workers Union. This is one of the issues the union is asking for,” he told Premium Times Newspaper.
“Whatever the government have done in their reaction to the NMA’s strike means they are not ready for dialogue because while we are engaging them, they have resorted to this.”
The NMA went in strike in July in protest over poor working conditions and payment for its members.