The Federal Government on Wednesday foreclosed dialogue with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) who are on nationwide strike over the non-payment of their Coronavirus (COVID-19) hazard allowance and other entitlements, as it ordered all federal owned health institutions to replace the striking resident doctors with those currently undergoing the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday, gave the directive to Chief Medical Directors and Managing Directors of federal health institutions, saying that the directive on engaging NYSC members was to help guide against disruption of routine health service to the Nigerian public.
The statement also instructed the health of institutions to engage that locum staffers should “be brought in when and where necessary to forestall services disruption when applicable and affordable.”
Dr Ehanire said that “it is with deep concern that l view the ongoing strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors which commenced yesterday (Tuesday) September 7, 2020. We must member that the primary duty of doctors and all health workers is to save lives. Embarking on a strike in this time that the country is battling with the COVlD-19 pandemic is ill-timed and ill-advised.
“lt is a critical time in which all well-meaning medical professionals should close ranks and confront the common enemy, which is the COVlD-I9 pandemic threatening mankind. This is therefore one strike too many. Besides, most of the demands have been met and others though difficult, are at an advanced stage of implementation. A little patience would have made a big difference.
“The Federal Ministry of Health finds it necessary to ensure measures are put in place to mitigate the effect of this strike on the generality of our populace by directing the CMDs/MDs of our federal tertiary hospitals to immediately do the following: COVlD-19 treatment outlets should continue to function as before.
“Emergency services should continue to run as before. Routine services should be maintained with Consultants, NYSC Doctors. Locum staffers to be brought in when and where necessary to forestall services disruption when applicable and affordable.
“I call on the NARD to return to work and engage the Federal Government in completing the ongoing due process of implementing the MoU between NARD and government. I wish to assure the general public that measures have been put in place to ensure that they continue to access services at all our federal tertiary hospitals across the country.”