Resident Doctors Insist Strike Continues

Resident Doctors, NARDThe National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) insists its strike continues until congress takes decision on the outcome of the meeting with the House of Representatives.

The President of NARD, Dr. Muhammed Askira, made the statement while addressing reporters on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He was reacting to the statement made by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, that both parties had agreed to sheath their swords after Tuesday’s meeting with the lawmakers.

“If you interpret the statement of the Minister to mean that the strike is over, then you are wrong,” the medic said.

Dr. Askira commended the lawmakers for their intervention on the lingering issues between NARD and the government.

He explained that the organ of the association that declared the strike would have to meet on Friday before any decision on whether or not to call off the strike.

This comes just as the Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College, Professor Oluwole Atoyebi, said the Nigerian government has not sacked any doctor from Federal Tertiary Health Institutions.Prof_Atoyebi

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Professor Atoyebi said: “while the resident doctors have been told to suspend the strike, the Ministry has been told by the Speaker ((of the House of Representatives) to rest the directive, for now, and that has been agreed by all parties”.

No Doctor Has Been Sacked – Prof Atoyebi

Prof_Atoyebi
National Postgraduate Medical College, Prof. Oluwole Atoyebi,

The Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College, Professor Oluwole Atoyebi, on Wednesday said the Nigerian government has not sacked any doctor from Federal Tertiary Health Institutions.

“No doctor has been sacked” he maintained, while speaking on Sunrise Daily, adding that “while the resident doctors have been told to suspend the strike, the Ministry has been told by the Speaker to rest the directive, for now, and that has been agreed by all parties”.

After a “very long meeting yesterday (Tuesday)” at the National Assembly where the “Speaker (of the House of Representatives) agreed to broker peace”, adding that “both resident doctors and the Ministry of Health have agreed to allow peace to reign”.

He said the directive sent out by the ministry was a pre-emptive move to “ensure there is no lacuna, so that if the strike was going to be protracted and long like in 2014 for almost two months, then the ongoing recruitment of resident doctors should take place quickly, so that some people will be available to train and to offer services”.

The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) had given a list of demands to the Federal Government which include payment of members’ salaries till date and appropriate placement of members in both states and federal tertiary hospitals across the nation.

Others were the reversal of sacked members in some hospitals as well as appropriate funding of residency training programme.

He, however, noted that “a number of issues have not been finalised” since the April 7 meeting between the doctors and the Federal Government, but insisted that “efforts have been made by the ministry” to address the issues.

The Nigerian government had asked heads of Federal Government Tertiary Health Institutions to fill the vacancies created by Resident Doctors who have abandoned their training programme in protest of what they called poor welfare.

The directive by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole was contained in a circular by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Amina Shamaki and sent to the Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions on Tuesday.

In the statement, the Minister directed the Chief Medical Directors and Medical Director to ensure immediate compliance.

House Intervenes

The Minister of Health on Tuesday after a meeting with the leadership of the House of Representatives said: “We had a very fruitful meeting with the House of Representatives and we have agreed to restore normalcy to all our health institutions and agreed that we will look into all the issues and reconvene on July 14 and finalise all issues.

“We have agreed to sheathe our swords and put the interest of the average Nigerian citizen upfront”.

However, despite the “fruitful meeting”, the National President of NARD, Mohammed Askira, said the union had not called off the strike.

“We have seen and constructively engaged ourselves with the leadership of the House of Representatives and we are taking the matters which we have agreed on to our members before we get our resolution from the congress.”

On her part, the Chairperson, House Committee on Health Institutions, Betty Apiafi, expressed hope that the strike would soon be called off by the resident doctors because “we have discussed extensively and they (Minister of Health and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health) have agreed to most of the issues that have been raised”.