WELCOME TO YEAR 2022
On behalf of the National Officers’ Committee (NOC) of the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), I wish to congratulate all our members on crossing over to Year 2022. As a matter of fact, Year 2021 has come and gone with its mixed feelings: the successes so far recorded in COVID-19 containment efforts in our country and the ultimate price paid by our members in the line of duty are part of the memories that define the year.
Indeed, this past year has been challenging for the global community but more so for Nigeria, no thanks to the scourge of worsening insecurity, galloping inflation and a COVID-19 pandemic that persists. The attendant shocks arising from these challenges have further worsened the perennial funding gaps in our country’s health sector. Sadly, a significant proportion of Nigeria’s many casualties from COVID-19 pandemic are our members, amongst other categories of the country’s health workforce. We therefore commend our members and other health workers for their dedication and abiding commitment to Nigeria’s efforts at curtailing the pandemic and other diseases of public health importance.
It has become necessary to reiterate that while the country has continued to grapple with the containment of COVID-19, other emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases like Lassa fever, Cholera, Ebola etc., remain important causes of diseases and deaths of public health concern. For instance, 99 deaths from Lassa fever were recorded as the previous year wound up (week 1 to 51). Furthermore, the potential for novel zoonotic diseases has been further heightened by the abnormal interactions between man and animals occasioned by recent increase in the frequency of human foray into the forests due to the current spate of kidnappings. In the face of these new realities, our index of suspicion needs to remain considerably high.
On the other hand, we seize this opportunity to again call on governments at all levels and leaders of our nation’s hospitals to prioritize protection of the lives of their staff through provision of adequate and appropriate PPEs, in addition to establishing effective disease surveillance and response systems that can engender population health security.
While commending our governments for a sustained commitment towards the containment of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, we enjoin them to take deliberate steps towards improving the welfare of our members and other health care workers. In addition to contributing to enhanced health security for Nigeria, appropriate actions by government to improve health workers’ welfare will support the country’s economic growth while reducing the current unacceptable level of health workforce brain drain.
We specifically call on the Federal and State Governments to expedite action on the implementation of all pending issues contained in the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which government jointly signed with the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and its affiliates, including a correction of shortfalls in remuneration of Clinical Lecturers as well as circularization and implementation of the upward adjustment in retirement age for Medical Doctors and other Health Workers.
The Federal Government is further called upon to address the erosion and distortion of relativity in the recently released circular on hazard allowance (SWC/04/S.218/11/406) which failed to reflect the Collective Bargaining Agreement NMA and MDCAN had with the government. It is our belief that the Federal Government will reciprocate the good faith demonstrated by MDCAN during its ongoing negotiations by doing the needful, rather than taking decisions that have potential to perpetuate those crises we both set out to resolve.
Finally, we welcome Year 2022 with much hope for our country and its health sector. With all hands-on deck, we look forward to a year of uncommon breakthroughs and sounds of victory for Nigeria and Nigerians. May the good Lord protect and keep us all and may He crown our efforts with success, Amen.
As we celebrate the New Year, we urge our members and the public to remember to continue to observe all COVID-19 protocols.
I wish you and your families a very happy and prosperous 2022.
- DR VICTOR MAKANJUOLA