The Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has described the move to review the terms and condition of internship programme/housemanship /NYSC doctors.
During a press briefing in Jos, Plateau State capital, Prof. Ken Ozoilo, National President of the group, accused the National Council of Establishment (NCE) of introducing a policy that is a “death knell for the nation’s health sector”.
In a circular dated April 12, 2021, signed by the Head of Service of the federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, said, “The NCE has reviewed the current status of internship programme/housemanship /NYSC doctors in the service and approved their removal from the schemes of service as post attracting grade levels in the salary structure.
“The council based its decision on the grounds that the period of these programmes/services form parts of the training in their respective professions. Interns shall, however, be considered for the payment of allowance to be determined by the National Salaries, incomes and wages Commissions.”
But Ozoilo, who advised government against policies that would destroy the health sector, said the council initiated the policy at a time when many health worker were leaving the country for better jobs abroad.
Ozoilo said, “We read with consternation the recent circulars issued by the National Council of Establishment (NCE) addressing qualification for entry into the civil service in the country and the status of interns as in the civil service.
“These circulars appear woolly at best coming at a time the nation is experiencing a massive depletion of health workers to the other nations in unprecedented brain drain; these circulars are ill timed and might sound the death knell for the nation’s health sector, ” he said.
On the non-payment of salaries and allowances to several cadres of health workers in the federal public service despite the assurances made to the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which led to the suspension of the strike action, the doctors called on the government to ensure quick payment of all outstanding allowances and salaries to enable health workers meet their needs.