COVID-19: Resident Doctors Kick Against FG’s Plan To Invite Chinese Medical Experts

File photo of medical personnel. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

 

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has kicked against a plan by the Federal Government to invite an 18-man Chinese team of medical experts including doctors, nurses and those with sundry expertise to assist Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

President of the association, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, in a statement made available to Channels Television, advised the Federal government to shelve the Plan of inviting the Chinese Medical team rather, and immediately engage all key relevant Nigerian medical experts including NARD and present the full intents and purpose of the planned importation of the Chinese experts for full evaluation, cost-benefit analysis and consensus on the best option.

He also noted that inviting the Chinese medical experts will amount the Federal Government to be championing “illegality”, as all doctors coming into Nigeria are supposed to be licensed by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

Sokomba, therefore, noted that the Chinese medical experts have not been licensed to perform any job in the country.

Read Also: COVID-19: Six Most Important Things Health Minister Said On Friday

“The attempt to import Human resources for Health from China into Nigeria where many qualified medical doctors and other cadres of health workers are yet to be gainfully employed is the height of insensitivity and disservice on the part of the Federal Government and their advisers.

“The challenge at hand would have been sufficient marker to agitate the FG to the direction and timing for massive employment of medical and other health care workers to provide enough hands in the industry to battle the COVID 19 as other nations are doing”.

The Minister for Health, Osagie Ohanire had on Friday stated that China is sending in more kits as well as doctors to support the government’s efforts in the fight against the virus.

“I have been notified of gifts of medical supplies from China, courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working here in Nigeria. A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items which include commodities, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and ventilators,” he said during the briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, adding that “Of great interest is that an 18-man team of medical experts, including doctors, nurses and public health advisers shall come along with the flight to assist us”.

The resident doctors, however, say they have distanced themselves from the plan.

“In the interim, NARD wishes to distance herself from the planned importation of Chinese medical experts to Nigeria in whatever guise or hood for the reasons presented in this write-up and many more,” Sokomba stated.

“NARD shall not contemplate further warning to distance herself from the Chinese adventure by way of withdrawing all her members from every public health facility in Nigeria so that the anticipated downturn in the output of Nigeria’s healthcare service delivery can be properly situated and traceable to the Chinese as is the case today in Italy.

“NARD hereby reiterates her position which was canvased earlier in the week for the FG to immediately and massively employ all qualified but unemployed doctors and other healthcare workers. Get them trained, insured, motivated and deployed nationwide”.

Abuja Doctors May Suspend Strike As Reps Intervene

 

Health workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) may be calling off the industrial action they embarked on by Thursday, 19 March 2020.

This followed a successful intervention of the House of Representatives after a meeting with representatives of the striking health workers and the management of the FCT on Tuesday.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who had mandated the Rep. Tanko Sununu-led Committee on Health Services to intervene and ensure that the matters are resolved, pleaded with the health workers to consider the effect of the industrial action on the larger society, especially at this period of global health challenges.

At the meeting with the Committee were members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) as well as Nurses and Midwives Association, while the Director, Human Resources, FCT, Muhammad Bashir, who led other management staff to the meeting, stood in for the Permanent Secretary.

Read Also: Doctors Down Tools Over Non-Payment Of Salaries

According to the NARD President, FCT Chapter, Roland Aigbovo and the Chairman, MDCAN, Abuja Chapter, Igbinovia Imotiyan, the striking workers’ grievances bordered on the failure of the FCT management to pay arrears of some allowances due to some of their members.

It also bordered on non-payment of salary to some members employed since October 2019, irregular and incomplete salary payment of members since the management of FCT migrated to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) in January 2020, as well as promotion arrears issues.

According to the groups, congresses would be conveyed within 48 hours and would strive to convince their members to call off the strike based on the intervention of the House and the assurances by the FCT management.

While addressing the striking workers and the FCT management, Gbajabiamila urged the health workers to allow the intervention of the House to prevail, noting that the ripple effect of the industrial action would be enormous, not only for FCT residents but for the country as a whole.

“When I heard of the strike, I knew it was going to be problematic for us in the FCT. As doctors, I think you should be able to take a lot more pain, your threshold should be higher, the strike should be the last option you want to consider,” he said.

“I appeal that you should just tarry a little while, especially at this time, with what is going around, most of the issues at stake here are peculiar

“As for FCT, if it’s a question of entitlement and people are not paid, this House won’t sit back and allow that to happen. This is the result (strike) we get if you aren’t paid and we don’t know who’ll be affected.

“While I appeal to the workers on strike, the government must do its part. You can’t go into an agreement with people and don’t fulfill it.

“Please allow the House to intervene, to broker a deal for the sake of those whom we don’t know that would be affected, for the sake of humanity

“Please let’s reverse our steps and give us some time and let’s see how far this intervention would go. By then, when we would have known that you have bent forward backwards and accommodate all shades of opinions.”

Speaking after the meeting, the Chairman of the Committee, noted that the FCT management agreed to ensure that all salary payment issues with the IPPIS are resolved and the health workers would be captured by the end of April 2020.

It was also agreed that issues of skipping and promotion are resolved, while 28 days of accommodation allowance for new employees would also be addressed through the current and 2021 budgets.

“We discussed the major contentious issues, and the FCT administration agreed that the workers have genuine demands and have agreed that something would be done immediately to address the situation.

“The associations also agreed that the issues were discussed exhaustively and that for those on strike, they will reach out to their members to forward the resolutions reached today, to look at it closely and call off the strike.

“We asked and appealed to them to look at the national and international health challenges we have, some countries are locked down because of coronavirus. Nigeria is not spared; we have diagnosed cases but working hard to contain that, to ensure that our people are secured,” he said.

Earlier, Bashir, who stood in for the Permanent Secretary, said the FCT has no challenges paying its workers but that the problems of irregular and incomplete payments were a result of the migration to the new salary payment system, IPPIS.

He pleaded that the FCT be given till the end of April 2020 to sort out all the issues.

Doctors Down Tools Over Non-Payment Of Salaries

 

Resident doctors working in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are downing their tools indefinitely, in protest against the non-payment of salaries for members spaning into seven months.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, the president of the Association of Resident Doctors in Abuja, Roland Aigbovo, noted that the decision to embark on the indefinite strike action has become their last resort after several failed promises by the FCT administration to pay their entitlements.

According to him, some doctors who received January salaries got only a paltry sum, ranging from one-fifth to one-tenth of their monthly salaries.

Resident Doctors Ask FG To Protect Health Workers Against Coronavirus

 

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has called on the Nigerian government to protect health workers across the country from getting infected with coronavirus.

The medical practitioners made the call in a statement on Saturday by the publicity secretary of NARD, Dr Egbogu Stanley.

They specifically directed their request to the Federal Ministry of Health, managements of healthcare institutions, and relevant parastatals of government at all levels across the country.

The doctors asked the government to ensure the provision and availability of N95 FFP3 facemasks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in various hospitals for effective prevention of the virus.

They also urged the government to ensure persons travelling into the country were properly screened at all points of entry.

The group advised health workers to maintain a high index of suspicion as they go about their duties, stressing that while coronavirus infection has a low fatality rate, its victims may succumb to it if not well managed.

It, therefore, asked Nigerians to observe universal basic precautions such as avoiding direct contact with sick people without adequate protection, as well as unnecessary touching of eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.

The NARD also urged the people to observe good cough etiquette and keep a distance of at least five feet from someone who has a chronic cough.

It asked them to ensure that surfaces were clean and disinfected regularly with household spray, while hands should be washed with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

The doctors advised health workers and patients with symptoms such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath to wear facemasks regularly.

It gave the assurance to partner with the Federal Ministry of Health to contain the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

JUTH Resident Doctors Protest Sack Of Colleagues

Residents doctors at the University of Jos Teaching Hospital (JUTH) have staged a protest against the sack of some of their colleagues, despite a court order restraining the action allegedly taken by the management.

The doctors held a peaceful demonstration on Monday carrying placards with different messages within the hospital premises in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

They were chanting various solidarity songs to impress on the hospital management to reverse the sack until the suit at the Industrial Court was determined.

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Strike: Resident Doctors Beg States Not To Jeopardize FG Agreement

Following the restoration of relative industrial peace in the health sector, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is appealing to state governors not to jeopardize the terms of settlement brokered by the Federal Government.

The President of NARD, Ugochukwu Chinaka raised concerns over the development in some teaching Federal and State hospitals which may adversely affect the agreement sealed with the Federal Government.

READ ALSO: Health Workers Union, JOHESU Suspends Nationwide Strike

Chinaka said, “We are advising all noncompliant chief executives officers to eschew actions inimical to the present peace to avoid further escalation.

“We are committed to the full implementation of the agreement with the Federal Government and nothing must happen with that agreement. All that we have agreed should be implemented to the letter.

FMC Owo Resident Doctors Protest In Ondo

Members of the Association of Resident Doctors at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State on Wednesday protested against the non-payment of their 2016 salary shortfall by the management of the hospital.

The doctors claimed that the funds have been released to the hospital management by the Federal Government since March 2017.

See photos below;

More Health Workers Threaten To Go On Strike

File Photo

Health professionals, including the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) are threatening to embark on nationwide strike. 

This is coming amidst the ongoing industrial strike by National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which has been met with deadlock reconciliation meetings between the doctors and the Federal Government.

The group in a release signed by the National President, Obinna Ogbonna and the national secretary Ayinde Obisesan, threatened a shutdown of healthcare services in the healthcare nationwide giving the Federal Government an ultimatum which is expected to elapse September 30, 2017.

“Considering other mobilisation factors and to give the government further room to address our demands, come 30th September 2017, if the government refuses to meet our demands, the union will have no other option than to shut down health care services nationwide.

Highlight of the demands of the groups include, “Revamping the infrastructure in the tertiary health institutions; report of the inter-ministerial sub-committee on critical matters in the health sector; professional autonomy;

“Non- payment of backlog of arrears; Residency training for other health professionals; Appointments of consultants and payment of specialist allowance; Surgeon general; National health act implementation, among several other issues.”

The group, therefore, called on the Federal Government to implement all agreements and memorandum of understanding reached with NUAHP/JOHESU on or before the expiration of the ultimatum to avert the looming industrial action.

NARD Strike: NMA President Makes U-turn, Says Govt Has Failed Doctors

The President of National Medical Doctors Association (NMA), Professor Mike Ogirima has made a U-turn from his earlier assertion that the industrial action by National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is wrong and that the resident doctors were not supposed to go on strike.

Ogirima, who appeared on Channels Television Sunrise Daily, on Wednesday, is now calling on the Federal Government to yield to the demands of the resident doctors. He noted that doctors do not trust the Federal Government anymore because the government has failed them.

“Government called them for negotiation. Agreements were reached, promises were made but the doctors never got the light of the day. Government on his own part cannot be trusted any longer, that is the core of the matter.

“The move by government was belated. The resident doctors gave a 21-day ultimatum. Within that period, I was mediating and calling on the doctors not to go on the strike. After the 21-day ultimatum elapsed, there was another 14 days’ strike ultimatum issued by the doctors but the government did not act. The government has failed them severally.”

In an earlier reaction to the strike, the Professor of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery had condemned the action of the resident doctors saying they should consider the damaging effect of their action which will lead to deaths of patients, a situation against their Hippocratic oath.

“NARD taking this decision is wrong but two wrongs cannot make a right. We are appealing that the strike they are declaring today should not come into being. We still have up till the end of the day to appeal to them. NARD should not equate themselves with ASUU. Death from ASUU is a long term effect. Death from NARD strike is immediate. Our patients will die and that is not the oath we take as doctors.

“The resident doctors form the largest affiliate body of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). The consultants are not supposed to be on strike.”

He however stressed the fact that the government was at fault by delaying negotiations with the doctors. “I condemn the government in every front. Right from their delay to the point of negotiations, having negotiations, Memorandum of Understanding, the doctors are no more trusting the government officials.

“The point I condemned the strike was that they would have waited for me as their father by bringing me forward to mediate between them and the government.”

Resident Doctors Suspend Planned Industrial Strike

Resident Doctors Condemn Suspension Of FMC Umuahia President

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has suspended its plan to embark on a nationwide industrial action.

The resident doctors had earlier threatened to down tools by September 4th, 2017 unless the Federal Government meets their demand of immediate enrollment in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), among other demands.

The Federal Government, to assuage their demands, held a meeting with the leadership of the association, promising to address the concerns raised.

The decision to suspend the strike was reached after several hours of meeting between the Minister of Labour and productivity, Chris Ngige and members from the Ministry of Health, as well as officials of the national association of resident doctors (NERD), in Abuja.

After the meeting, which was held in Abuja, which lasted into the early hours of today, Ngige said the meeting was adjourned to November 2nd, 2017 for further deliberation on issues  that affects the emoluments and welfare of the resident doctors.

The members of the association and the ministers of labour and employment, and health has, therefore agreed that normal services would continue to be rendered by the doctors pending the resolution of the issues in dispute.

Edo Resident Doctors To Embark On Indefinite Strike

The Association of Resident Doctors at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) says it will embark on a total indefinite strike from Monday, September 4.

This follows the breakdown of negotiations with the Federal Government over the demand that resident doctors be included in the Integrated Personnel Information System (IPIS).

The President ARD, UBTH, Dr Eustace Oseghale, made the announcement on Thursday in Benin City, the state capital.

The doctors said their inclusion in IPIS would enable them to get their emoluments directly from the Federal Government and curb corruption in the healthcare system.

They noted that the development would make more funds available to run the nation’s healthcare and reduce the brain-drain that is currently plaguing the sector.

This comes a day after the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) asked the Edo state government to urgently declare a state of emergency in the healthcare system.

The State NMA Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Osaigbovo, had said on Wednesday that inadequate attention on the sector by successive administrations has led to the loss of lives of residents who fall prey in the hands of quacks.

According to Osaigbovo, some of the areas the doctors asked the state government to intervene include infrastructure, recruitment of manpower and welfare of medical personnel in the state.

He said primary healthcare system in the state was gradually dying out, causing women to deliver at home in their numbers while complicated pregnancy was almost a death sentence in the rural areas.

FG Promises To Resolve Issues Raised By Resident Doctors

Federal Government has promised to address the concerns raised by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Nigige, stated this on Thursday during a meeting with the leadership of the association in Abuja.

Dr Nigige and his counterpart in the Ministry of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, assured the resident doctors that their demands would be looked into.

The team is led by NARD President, Dr Onyebueze Ugochukwu, as well as President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Professor Mike Ogirima.

Both ministers and the doctors are presently in a closed-door meeting to address their demands.

Details to follow…