Prevail On States To Pay Owed Salary Arrears To Doctors, NARD Tells FG

A file photo of doctors during a protest.

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has called on the Federal Government to prevail on state governments to pay salary arrears owed their members in the country.

This formed part of the resolutions reached at the virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union after its leadership met with the government.

Addressing reporters on Monday in Abuja, NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, noted that authorities in Abia and Imo States owe resident doctors 20 months and five months arrears, respectively.

He stressed the need for the state governments to pay up the arrears within the widow of suspension of the strike by the doctors which he said was four weeks.

Dr Okhuaihesuyi also clarified that the suspension of the industrial action which lasted 10 days was conditional, saying the union would review the government’s responses to their requests by the end of April.

READ ALSO: Doctors Threaten To Resume Strike In Four Weeks If Demands Are Not Met

“The NEC resolved to suspend the ongoing total and indefinite nationwide industrial action from Monday, April 12, 2021, at 8am for a period of four weeks to give room for the government to sort out all pending issues as constrained in the MOA.

“The NEC appealed to all relevant stakeholders to prevail on government and her agencies to keep to their side of the bargain as documented in the Memorandum of Action in order to prevent reoccurring strikes in the health sector,” he said while reading the communique issued at the end of the meeting held on Saturday.

The doctors asked the Federal Government to remove medical training from the concurrent list to allow for the universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act across the Federation, including state training institutions.

According to the NARD president, a meeting of stakeholders has been scheduled for Wednesday to determine the new hazard allowance for health workers.

Doctors Threaten To Resume Strike In Four Weeks If Demands Are Not Met

 

Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have asked the Federal Government to honour its agreement with the union.

They warned that should the government fail to honour its agreement in the next four weeks, they would be forced to declare another indefinite nationwide industrial action.

President of NARD, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, gave the warning on behalf of his colleagues when he featured as a guest on Sunrise Daily on Monday.

“We have been given a leap of faith to believe in the system and we hope and pray that the system does not fail us,” he said during his appearance on the Channels Television breakfast programme.

The doctor added, “If it fails us, we don’t have a choice but to call a meeting in the next four weeks, which is the timeline for this strike that we suspended.

“If our demands are not met in four weeks’ time, I think it will go back to us going on indefinite strike again.”

READ ALSO: Resident Doctors Suspend Nationwide Strike

Members of the union had embarked on strike on April 1, but it was suspended after 10 days following a meeting with the government on Saturday.

In their demands, they sought the payment of all salaries owed to all house officers, including March salaries, and payment of all salary arrears for their colleagues in all Federal (GIFMIS platform) and State Tertiary Health Institutions across the country, especially ASUTH, IMSUTH, and UNIMEDTH.

They also called for an upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers, as well as and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance, especially in state-owned-tertiary Institutions, among other issues raised.

 

Significant Progress Made

A file photo of medical doctors during a protest.

 

Giving an update on the progress made so far since the strike was suspended, Dr Okhuaihesuyi acknowledged that significant progress has been made.

He said, “We have gained something significant, but it may not be enough to end the strike because as we speak, there is a meeting that is going to hold concerning the N5,000 hazard allowance today, and with other health workers on Wednesday.

“For the members we lost to COVID-19 (17 members were lost), we have been able to reach an agreement that the doctors and health workers involved should be able to make claims so that they can benefit from the group insurance.”

On the demand for the house officers’ payment, the NARD president noted that they have achieved at least about 75 – 80 per cent progress.

He confirmed that about 239 house officers have been paid as of Monday morning, but there were some irregularities with the payment.

“If we didn’t go on this strike, we will not be able to achieve the proposed review of hazard allowance; if we didn’t go on this strike, we won’t be able to have them to tell us that we should go and make a supplementary budget for those that have not been paid Medical Resident Training fund,” said Dr Okhuaihesuyi.

Strike: FG Accuses Doctors Of Playing With Lives Of Nigerians

A file photo of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

 

The Federal Government has accused the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) of playing with the lives of Nigerians who need them at this critical time.

Dr Chris Ngige, who is the Minister of Labour and Employment, made the allegation on Friday at the opening session of a meeting with the aggrieved doctors in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He warned the members of the union to stop what he described as toying with the lives of citizens in the name of pressing for better welfare.

According to the minister, neither NARD nor the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is a trade union and many Nigerians have died as a result of the industrial action by the resident doctors.

He stated that while members of the associations were entitled to some rights, they should be mindful that their actions have serious consequences.

“Nigeria is facing a serious challenge from COVID-19 at the moment. This calls for selflessness by all.

“Notwithstanding, the present administration is doing everything to ensure better welfare for our health workers who are key in the fight against the pandemic,” Ngige told the doctors.

He also asked them to abide by their Hippocratic Oath which placed on them the primary responsibility of saving the lives of their patients.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, who was also at the meeting, appealed to the doctors to end their strike.

He assured that their concerns were already being taken care of by the government, adding that it was important for them to return to work.

On their part, the doctors denied the allegations by the minister, saying they remained open to meaningful negotiation from the government.

Thereafter, the meeting went into a closed-door session while journalists await the outcome of issues discussed.

The ongoing strike by the doctors began on Thursday last week, despite a conciliatory meeting with the leadership of NARD and Ngige.

Among many other demands, the doctors called for the immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers, including March salaries (regardless of quota system) before the end of business on March 31.

They also demanded the immediate payment of all salary arrears, including March salaries for members in all Federal (GIFMIS platform) and State Tertiary Health Institutions across the country, especially ASUTH, IMSUTH, and UNIMEDTH.

NARD sought an upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance, especially in state-owned-tertiary Institutions.

They also called for the abolishment of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by their members on outside postings in all training institutions across the country with immediate effect.

According to the doctors, salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015, and 2016 should be paid to their members in all federal institutions, including state-owned institutions as earlier agreed with the government.

They asked for the payment of death in service insurance for all health workers who died as a result of COVID-19 infection or other infectious diseases in the country.

UPDATED: Resident Doctors Begin Indefinite Strike Nationwide

A file photo of doctors during a protest.

 

Members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have commenced an industrial action across the country.

The strike which was scheduled to begin on Thursday followed an ultimatum issued to the Federal Government which expired on Wednesday.

NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, announced the commencement of the nationwide strike during an interview on Sunrise Daily – a breakfast programme on Channels Television.

“The strike commenced 8am this morning, and we enjoin all resident doctors to start the strike immediately,” he said.

 

Ahead of the planned strike, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Doctor Chris Ngige, a conciliatory meeting with the leaders of the union on Wednesday in Abuja.

At the meeting which lasted several hours, he appealed to the aggrieved medical practitioners to have a rethink and sheathe their sword, saying the Federal Government was making efforts to ensure their demands were met.

Giving an update on the meeting, Okhuaihesuyi who led other leaders of the union to the discussion said they were not strange to the government’s proposal.

He stressed the need for the government to take more responsibility, adding that the decision to go on strike was for the benefit of all healthcare workers in the country.

“We had a meeting with the Minister of Labour from 4pm till about 12am this morning; we insist that the implementation of what we wrote on the strike notice should be intimated immediately.

“We are not just doing this for resident doctors, we are doing this for all health workers … the government needs to be more responsible,” the NARD president stated.

 

The Demands

In their demands, the doctors had called for the immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers, including March salaries (regardless of quota system) before the end of business on March 31.

They also demanded the immediate payment of all salary arrears, including March salaries for members in all Federal (GIFMIS platform) and State Tertiary Health Institutions across the country, especially ASUTH, IMSUTH, and UNIMEDTH.

NARD sought an upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance, especially in state-owned-tertiary Institutions.

They called for the abolishment of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by their members on outside postings in all training institutions across the country with immediate effect.

According to the doctors, salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015, and 2016 should be paid to their members in all federal institutions, including state-owned institutions as earlier agreed with the government.

They asked for the payment of death in service insurance for all health workers who died as a result of COVID-19 infection or other infectious diseases in the country.

Other demands, made at the meeting of the National Executive Council of the union held on Saturday last week at the National Hospital in Abuja, read:

Universal domestication/implementation of the 2017 MRTA by all Federal Government and State-owned Training Institutions to ensure proper funding of Residency Training in the country as stipulated by the Act.

Immediate payment of 2019, the balance of 2020 and 2021 Medical Residency Training Funds (MRTF) to our members including those under state government employ.

Immediate implementation of September 2017 Memorandum of Terms of Settlement (MOTOS) between NARD and the Federal Government of Nigeria in order to bring lasting peace to the health sector and curb the ongoing ugly trend of brain drain from the health sector.

Immediate review of the Act regulating Postgraduate Medical Training in Nigeria in line with International Best Practices to remove the unnecessary rigors in Residency Training in Nigeria, one of the factors attributed to brain drain in the health sector.

Immediate commencement of employment into all Government-owned hospitals to improve service delivery to Nigerians, enhance Residency Training, and curb the attendant brain drain in the health sector.

It also demanded the reintroduction of medical super salary structure and specialist allowance for all Doctors as already approved for some other health workers. This will go a long way in ensuring peace in the health sector.

The NEC unanimously demanded the sack of the Registrar of MDCN for failure to demonstrate competence in the handling of the central placement of house officers. This will give room for smooth implementation of the central placement of house officers without further delays.

Finally, the NEC reiterated her commitment to the smooth running of all tertiary institutions in the country and the provision of specialist healthcare to Nigerians but urge the Federal Government to urgently meet the above demands in order to avert this avoidable industrial action.

Resident Doctors To Begin Indefinite Strike On Thursday

A file photo of doctors during a protest.

 

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) will embark on a nationwide strike from Thursday, its leaders have said.

In a statement jointly signed by NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi; its Secretary-General, Dr Jerry Isogun, and its Publicity/Social Secretary, Dr Dotun Osikoya, the union said the industrial action would be total and indefinite, should the Federal Government fail to meet its demands.

It explained that the decision to go on strike was taken at the extraordinary National Executive Council of the union held on Saturday at the National Hospital in Abuja.

During the meeting attended by over 50 chapters of the association across the country, the doctors reviewed the earlier ultimatum given to the government and scheduled to expire on Wednesday.

Burning issues affecting residency training, healthcare delivery, and welfare of the unio members also formed major discussions at the meeting.

In their resolutions, the doctors called for the immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers, including March salaries before the end of March 31.

They also asked the government to commence the immediate payment of all salary arrears, including March salaries to their members in all Federal and state tertiary health institutions.

The union resolved to call for the upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers, as well as the payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance.

They also sought the immediate abolishment of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by their members on outside postings in all training Institutions.

A communique issued at the end of the NEC meeting read:

PREAMBLE

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) held an extraordinary National Executive Council meeting on the 27th of March 2021 at the Trauma Center in National Hospital Abuja to review her earlier ultimatum and deliberate on burning issues affecting Residency Training, Healthcare Delivery and the Welfare of her members across the country.

The NEC was attended by over 50 Chapters of the Association across the country. After extensive deliberations, the following observations and resolutions were made;

OBSERVATIONS

The NEC observed that her earlier ultimatum given to the Federal Government during the January 2021 NEC meeting in Owerri will expire by 12 midnight on the 31st of March 2021 with no significant achievement.

The NEC reiterated her full support for the Central Placement of House Officers. Nevertheless, they decried the agony our members have been made to pass through for three months now without salaries despite uninterrupted service delivery to the nation. This is due to the inefficiency of the Registrar of MDCN in handling the processes of central placement of House Officers as approved by the Federal Executive Council since 2017.

The NEC bemoaned the suffering of some of our members in GIFMIS platform who have not been paid salaries for four months now due to delay in biometric capturing by IPPIS department.

They lamented the inhumane treatment been meted on our members in some State Tertiary Institutions like ABSUTH being owed twenty months salaries, IMSUTH five months salaries and UNIMEDTH three months salaries.

The NEC also observed that despite the three months window given to the Federal Government to review the hazard allowance of health workers, the hazard allowance has remained a paltry sum of five thousand (5000) naira monthly.

The NEC noted that despite the efforts of NARD, the erroneously paid 2020 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) to non-resident Doctors is yet to be addressed. Also, 2019, some of 2020 and 2021 MRTF are yet to be paid.

The NEC also observed the non-implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) in some institutions in the country, especially state-owned institutions.

The NEC noted the non-payment of the arrears of Salary shortfall dating back to 2014 to our members across the country including State-owned Tertiary Institutions.

The NEC observed that up till now none of our members have benefited from the Death in Service Insurance Scheme despite our constant engagement with the relevant stakeholders with the data of our colleagues who died in service to the nation.

The NEC noted the irregular and exorbitant amounts being paid as Bench Fees by our members on outside postings.

The NEC observed with dismay that the Act regulating Postgraduate Medical Training in Nigeria established in 1979 is yet to be reviewed.

They observed the alarming rate of brain drain of doctors and other health workers to foreign countries in the face of a severe shortage of manpower in all Government-owned hospitals across the country. This is because of lack of employment in most hospitals, poor remuneration, and poor conditions of service in the health sector.

The NEC noted the efforts put in by the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives, federal Ministries of Health, Labour & Employment and the Chairman, Committee on Health, federal House of Representatives in trying to resolve the issue of non-payment of salaries of our house officers. However, these have not yielded the desired results.

RESOLUTIONS

The NEC unanimously agreed that NARD should proceed on a total and indefinite strike on the 1st of April 2021, by 8am if the following demands are not met.

Immediate Payment of all salaries owed to all house officers including March salaries (regardless of quota system) before the end of business on the 31st of March 2021.

Immediate payment of all salary arrears including March salaries for our members in all Federal (GIFMIS platform) and State Tertiary Health Institutions across the country especially ASUTH, IMSUTH, and UNIMEDTH.

Upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50% of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance especially in State owned-tertiary Institutions.

Abolishment of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by our members on outside postings in all Training Institutions across the country with immediate effect.

Payment of Salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015, and 2016 to our members in all Federal Institutions including state-owned institutions as earlier agreed with NARD.

Payment of death in service insurance for all health workers who died as a result of COVID-19 infection or other infectious diseases in the country.

Universal domestication/implementation of the 2017 MRTA by all Federal Government and State-owned Training Institutions to ensure proper funding of Residency Training in the country as stipulated by the Act.

Immediate payment of 2019, the balance of 2020 and 2021 Medical Residency Training Funds (MRTF) to our members including those under state government employ.

Immediate implementation of September 2017 Memorandum of Terms of Settlement (MOTOS) between NARD and the Federal Government of Nigeria in order to bring lasting peace to the health sector and curb the ongoing ugly trend of brain drain from the health sector.

Immediate review of the Act regulating Postgraduate Medical Training in Nigeria in line with International Best Practices to remove the unnecessary rigors in Residency Training in Nigeria, one of the factors attributed to brain drain in the health sector.

Immediate commencement of employment into all Government-owned hospitals to improve service delivery to Nigerians, enhance Residency Training, and curb the attendant brain drain in the health sector.

It also demanded the reintroduction of medical super salary structure and specialist allowance for all Doctors as already approved for some other health workers. This will go a long way in ensuring peace in the health sector.

The NEC unanimously demanded the sack of the Registrar of MDCN for failure to demonstrate competence in the handling of the central placement of house officers. This will give room for smooth implementation of the central placement of house officers without further delays.

Finally, the NEC reiterated her commitment to the smooth running of all tertiary institutions in the country and the provision of specialist healthcare to Nigerians but urge the Federal Government to urgently meet the above demands in order to avert this avoidable industrial action.

APPRECIATION

On behalf of the entire membership of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, the National Executive Council expresses their heartfelt gratitude to the following distinguished individuals for their continuous support to our struggle for a better healthcare system in Nigeria.

The Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator (Dr) Chris Ngige.

The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Director, Hospital Services Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi.

The Chairman, Committee on Health, Federal House of Representatives, Hon Dr Tanko Sununu.

The CMD, National Hospital Abuja and Chairman, Committee of CMDs in Nigeria, Dr Jaf Momoh.

The President, Nigeria Medical Association, Prof (Dr) Innocent Ujah mni.

Long live NARD.

Long live NMA.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Doctors Lament Increase In COVID-19 Infection Among Health Workers

NARD President Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa addressing journalists after the NEC meeting.

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have raised an alarm over the increasing rate of exposure, infection, and fatality to COVID-19 among health workers especially resident doctors in Nigeria.

The national president of the association Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa disclosed this in Owerri, the Imo State capital at the end of the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting and scientific conference.

READ ALSO: Almost All Doctors In UCH Are Infected With COVID-19 – NARD

Uyilawa said the doctors are therefore demanding a review of their hazard allowance and speedy implementation of the life insurance scheme.

“NEC demands that the current hazard allowance be upwardly reviewed within the next months in order not to encourage our members to continue to work at this critical moment of an increasing number of infection and mortality due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and to maintain industrial harmony in the health sector.

“The NEC resolves that the life insurance scheme for all health workers be speedily implemented and all health workers who have been infected or died as a result of COVID-19 or any other disease infection in the country be compensated,” he said.

Almost All Doctors In UCH Are Infected With COVID-19 – NARD

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), has decried the deadly COVID-19 second wave, saying that almost all doctors at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan are infected with the virus.

NARD Vice President, Adejo Arome, disclosed this on Friday during an interview on Channels Television.

“It is so disheartening that the number of health workers being infected with COVID-19 is increasing daily and it seems nothing is being done to reduce this number,” he said.

“Apart from that, almost all the doctors in the University College Hospital (UCH), Paediatric Department are infected. It is like that every day.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: FG Releases N6.45bn For New Oxygen Plants In 38 Locations Nationwide

He said the situation has dampened the morale of medical practitioners in the country, noting that most doctors in clinical practice risked being hit with COVID-19.

While calling on the relevant authorities to provide medical workers with Personal Protective Equipment, Aromo noted that most patients expose doctors to the virus by not being truthful about their history.

“Patients don’t come out truthfully to tell us their symptoms. Almost everybody now knows what the symptoms of COVID-19 are.

“They will go to one hospital, the doctors will tell them that this is what is suspected, they will run away and go to another one,” he added.

The NARD chief called on the Federal Government to initiate policies that will ensure that patients who lie to doctors were being prosecuted.

20 Doctors Contract COVID-19 In Kwara Within Three Weeks

Kwara Senator, Eight Others Arrested Over Alleged Killing Of Two

 

About 20 doctors in Kwara State have become infected with COVID-19 within the past three weeks.

President of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Dr Badmus Habeeb, disclosed this to Channels Television during a phone interview on Wednesday.

He lamented that members of the association are battling with the pandemic “based on the available resources”.

“About 20 of our members have become infected in the last two to three weeks.

“I must reiterate that this is not the best of times for us, our families and the affected patients,” he said.

Habeeb, however, noted that the discovery of vaccines have brought hope and relief for everyone.

But he lamented that there is a poor resource setting in the country, where the necessities to make the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines easy and possible, are not readily available.

“So, it seems we may never be able to get the vaccine anytime soon,” he said.

The UITH-ARD President said the vaccines have so far proven to be effective and therefore, urged Nigerians to get vaccinated when it arrives, while adhering strictly to other COVID-19 guidelines.

“The public should adhere strictly to the laid down guidelines on the prevention of COVID-19 by NCDC,” he warned.

Two Doctors Die Of COVID-19 In Abuja

A health worker seen wearing a PPE amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Two more doctors have died of the coronavirus disease in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday.

According to the statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister, Mr Anthony Ogunleye, the FCTA said a female doctor with the Gwarimpa General hospital, passed on two weeks ago while a private medical doctor died last week.

Following the recent developments, the known number of medical doctors that have succumbed to COVID-19 in the FCT now stands at four since the outbreak of the virus in March.

“Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in the FCT on March 27th, 2020, a total of 4 doctors working in both public and private hospitals have regrettably succumbed to the disease,” the statement partly read.

“The latest, being a female doctor from Gwarimpa General hospital, who passed on two weeks ago and a private medical doctor over the last one week.”

The statement was in reaction to a report credited to the Chairman of the FCT chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Enema Amodu, that FCTA hospitals were currently rendering skeletal services due to the death of 20 medical doctors from COVID-19.

READ ALSO: 18 Premier League Players, Staff Test Positive For Coronavirus

While making reference to the acting Secretary of the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCTA, Dr Mohammed Kawu, Ogunleye said all FCTA hospitals were operating at full capacity, inclusive of emergencies for adults and children, delivery and maternity services, theatre services, laboratory and pharmaceutical services, and hospital kitchens.

“All FCTA hospitals are operating at full capacity inclusive of emergencies for adults and children, delivery and maternity services, theatre services (operating 24 hour services), laboratory and pharmaceutical services, and hospital kitchens. All clinics will resume full services after the Christmas holidays on Tuesday, 29th of December, 2020.

“While there had been incidences where COVID-19 positive patients had infected some medical personnel, these personnel and indeed the patients have been treated and discharged and the affected hospital areas fully decontaminated without any adverse effect on the overall functionality of the hospitals.

“According to records available to the FCTA, since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in the FCT on March 27th 2020, a total of 4 doctors working in both public and private hospitals have regrettably succumbed to the disease.

“The latest, being a female doctor from Gwarimpa General hospital, who passed on two weeks ago and a private medical doctor over the last one week,” he added.

COVID-19: Buhari Mourns 20 Doctors, Says Govt Will Prioritise Health Workers’ Welfare

Buhari Condemns Gombe Killings, Condoles With Victims' Families
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted the sacrifices of the doctors who were killed by COVID-19 in parts of the country.

In a statement on Saturday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari gave an assurance that the welfare of doctors and other health workers would be a priority for his administration.

He also sent his condolence to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) over the death of the doctors due to the pandemic, noting that the sacrifices made by the frontline medical workers were appreciated.

READ ALSO: Why 20 Doctors Died Of COVID-19 In One Week – NMA

“The death of our frontline health workers in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly sad because these professionals risk their own lives in order to save others,” the President was quoted as saying.

He added, “Our health workers are making maximum sacrifices for the country in line with their humanitarian calling, and this administration will leave no stone unturned in order to ensure their needs are met.

According to the President, the health workers are operating under severe limitations, but they are undeterred in discharging their duties in saving lives.

“Let me say without any fear of contradiction that no reward is too much for the sacrifices of our health workers in the country, and this administration will give their welfare the priority it deserves,” he stated.

President Buhari also mourned the Galadiman Lokoja, Godwin Ajakpo, as well as the Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, a former military Governor.

His remarks were in reaction to the comments of the NMA Chairman in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Enema Amodu, that no fewer than 20 medical doctors died of COVID-19 in the last one week across the country.

Addressing a press briefing in Abuja on Christmas Day, he noted that the late medical doctors contracted the disease in the course of treating infected patients who failed to disclose their true health status.

Why 20 Doctors Died Of COVID-19 In One Week – NMA


The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has explained how no fewer than 20 members of the union died of COVID-19 in the last one week.

NMA Chairman in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Enema Amodu, disclosed this to reporters at a briefing on Friday in Abuja.

He noted that the late medical doctors contracted the disease in the course of treating infected patients who failed to disclose their true health status.

Dr Amodu, however, called on patients visiting clinics and hospitals to declare their true health status to avoid exposing doctors and other health workers to the risk of disease infection.

He said, “For those of us in the health sector, we have lost quite a number of colleagues in the last one week alone. Across the country, we have lost not less than 20 doctors in the last one week.”

“We also want to use this opportunity to talk to our patients; as you come to us in the hospitals, in the clinics, please oblige us.

“Wear your mask. Tell us the truth about your past medical condition and don’t hold any information back,” he added.

NMA Chairman in the FCT, Dr Enema Amodu, briefs reporters in Abuja on December 25, 2020.

 

Second Wave, More Catastrophic

As more doctors and health workers are contracting COVID-19, the NMA FCT chairman appealed to the government to improve supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the medical facilities.

He also called for the provision of essential drugs in the hospitals, saying the doctors were ready to combat the second wave of the virus.

According to Dr Amodu who is an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) surgeon and consultant, it is important for patients coming to hospitals to fully disclose their health status as he once contracted the disease from an infected patient.

“I am the Chairman of NMA, FCT and by the special grace of God, I am standing here today as a survivor because I inadvertently saw a patient that I didn’t know had COVID-19 and she didn’t tell me, and she knew.

“I was exposed, I contacted the virus, I developed symptoms but by the grace of God, my colleagues rallied around me and I survived,” he revealed.

The medical doctor said, “This second wave is so overwhelming; this second wave is more catastrophic, and this probably would be because a lot of people have gone back to the way of doing things.

“They have thought that the virus is over, it has come, and it is gone, and they have let their guards down.”

Resident Doctors Commence Strike In Taraba  

Logo of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

 

The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in Taraba State have embarked on an indefinite strike action to press home their demands.

ARD President, Ahmed Gabriel, who disclosed this to journalists in Taraba on Friday blamed the decision on the alleged inability of the state government honouring its part of the agreement.

He lamented that medical personnel have been exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the total number of resident doctors in the state is not up to 90.

According to him, the doctors are not happy with the inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the fight against coronavirus, non-implementation of the reversed Hazard Allowance and payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance and non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.

READ ALSO: Residents Kill Six Bandits, As Two Locals Die In Kaduna

Others were insecurity as they lament the kidnap and killing of their colleagues, non-ensuring of pay parity among doctors and medical internship training.

“Base on the W.H.O standard, the ratio of doctor to patient stands at one doctor to 600 patients, but in Nigeria currently the ratio is one doctor to 6400 patients, while in Taraba state it is one doctor to 33,000 patients and this is grossly inadequate,” he said.

“Currently the number of Doctors who are in Taraba State is actually less than ninety. The Taraba State Specialist hospital created 13 years ago has 19 permanent Doctors and Doctors on contract are 18 in number.

“You cannot build a system or run a viable system with this kind of arrangement and no internship training for medical interns, both nurses and medical laboratory unlike what is experienced in sister states.

“At the moment, there is the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and already the second wave is with us. So far, no medical health worker has been paid and the second wave is with us yet our morale is low.”

While recalling that Taraba has not recorded any fatality since the outbreak of the virus, he attributed the feat to what he described as the resilience of the health workers within the state.

He regretted that the state government has not honoured its agreement by paying the COVID-19 inducement allowance for health care workers.

“Majority of the doctors employed have left the state for greener pasture due to the inability of the state to implement salary scale for Doctors ”

“Majority of the doctors employed are young and there is a high tendency that they will leave and we want the government to look into that quickly.

“Within the state, we have more than 25 health workers that were exposed to COVID-19 pandemic and we demand implementation of the MOU entered into with the government,” he added.

This is coming more three months after the association signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state government to meet some of its pressing demands.