By George Odok
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Federal Government to shelve its planned harmonisation of salaries of health workers in the country.
The association’s position is contained in a communiqué issued by Dr Mike Ogirima, President of NMA, on Sunday at the end of the 57th Annual General Meeting and Delegate Conference of the association, held in Calabar, from April 24 to 29 .
It noted although health workers faced many hazards in the discharge of their duties, their output could not be compared to doctors who performed the bulk of the medical services.
“There is an attempt to harmonise the salaries and the Federal Ministry of Health is at the lead of that attempt, which is currently causing a lot of disharmony in the health sector.
“Medical doctors are highly skilled and few in the country; the cut-off mark for medical students now is 280 and above. Everybody wants to accept that title of doctor in the medical set up; we are not against that.
“What we are against is the fact that everybody cannot be equated to be equal. In the animal kingdom, all animals are equal; but some are more equal than others,” it said.
The association said that it was not against moves to enhance the welfare of other health workers, but insisted that relativity should be maintained.
“We are not saying that the welfare of other medical workers should not be taken care of, but that relativity should be maintained when we talk of salaries of health workers in the hospitals.
“The NMA is calling on government to evaluate different professionals in the health sector and audit the output they put at work.
“With that, there will be more objective data and statistics to buttress our point, asking for maintenance of the relativity,” it added.
The communiqué also lamented the deteriorating state of infrastructures in public health institutions across the country and called on governments at all levels, to place premium on developing the sector.
It called on the Federal Government to be proactive by having a strong rapid emergency response team to handle outbreak of diseases, just as it stressed the need to resume local production of vaccines in the country.
On the outbreak of Cerebral Spinal Meningitis across the country, the NMA condemned the poor handling of the outbreak of the disease in some states.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NMA also ratified the adoption of the association’s seal/stamp for medical practitioners to check quackery in the profession.