The Nigerian Medical Association has expressed concern over the state of affairs in the health sector, saying the Federal Government had killed the morale of doctors because of health sector politics.

While calling on professionals to be united in their resolve to end the poor attitude of government towards the health sector, the organisation said it was only through such unity that they could stop the disharmony, distrust and disrespect among doctors and other health workers.

The NMA also called on government to give priority to the health sector by ensuring “that proper allocation of 15 per cent was given to the health in line with the Abuja declaration.”

The chairman of the NMA in the Federal Capital Territory and North-Central Caucus, Dr Enema Amodu, stated these in his Easter Message issued in Abuja on Sunday.

According to him, division among doctors would not lead to the achievement of anything positive, including improving working conditions, remunerations and better facilities that would positively impact on every healthcare worker.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Sunday said the Federal Government will soon engage the leadership of the striking National Association of Resident Doctors in a fresh talk with a view to ending the ongoing strike.

He said the purpose of the fresh talk would be for the striking resident doctors to explain to the government team the aspects of the memorandum of action they signed on Thursday which they did not agree with.

Ngige spoke in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday.

Recall that the NARD, an association of doctors undergoing residency training, had on Thursday commenced what it called “a total and indefinite strike” despite government’s last-minute efforts to stop the action.

Shortly before the strike started, the leadership had signed a memorandum of action with the Federal Government team, which made Ngige to describe the strike as being in bad faith.

Over 200,000 hectares of land across 15 grazing reserves are being prepared by the Federal Government under the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

It was also gathered that 22 states had so far shown interest in the livestock programme that aims to address the incessant clashes between herders and farmers across the country.

On February 13, 2021, the Federal Government announced that it had commenced the implementation of the NLTP and also disclosed that 20 governors had shown interest in the programme at the time.

Kwasari, who announced the commencement of the programme, had also stated that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), secured a €400,000 grant from The Netherlands for the initiative.

The presidential aide said, “We have states in tiers one, two, three and four, depending on the ones that are ahead of others. But I can’t give you the states that are in each particular tier for I’m on vacation now. I don’t have those details here with me now, until I return to Abuja. I don’t have access to those data now.”

The Federal Government has asked all the states administering the COVID-19 vaccine to stop the exercise the moment they use half of the doses allocated to them.

This implies that a state that was given 100,000 doses would have to halt the vaccine rollout once the doses hit 50,000 in order for those who have received their first jab to be able to complete their vaccination.

 The move, it was learnt, had become necessary due to a possible delay in the supply of the next batch of the AstraZeneca vaccines, which could affect the availability of the vaccine for a second jab for those who have taken the first.

The shortage of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the international market is caused by a surge in the demand by the European Union and a new policy by India which manufactures the vaccine. India had said last week that it would prioritise domestic vaccination for its over 1.2 billion citizens, thereby causing a shortage in developing nations like Nigeria.

Confirming the development to one of our correspondents who made an enquiry on the matter, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said states were asked to stop vaccination halfway until more vaccines arrive because it was the smartest thing to do since it is a double-dose vaccine.