• Urges NARD members to return to work
• ‘Routine services must be maintained’
The Federal Government has described as ill-timed and ill-advised the ongoing strike by the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) at a time that the country is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, urged the doctors to return to work and engage the government in completing ongoing process of implementing its agreement with NARD.
He also directed that routine services should be maintained with consultants and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) doctors, and locum staff be brought in when and where necessary to forestall disruption of services where applicable and affordable.
NARD began an indefinite strike on September 7, 2020 over non- implementation of residency funding, COVID-19 allowance, hazard allowance as well as the outstanding salary shortfall of 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Ehanire, who said that the government viewed with deep concern the ongoing industrial action by NARD, urged the doctors and all health workers to remember that their primary duty is to save lives.
He directed that the COVID-19 treatment centres and the emergency services should continue to run as before.
“It is a critical time in which all well- meaning medical professionals should close ranks and confront the common enemy, which is the COVID-19 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 that measures are put in place to mitigate the effect of this strike on the generality of our populace.
“I 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,” the minister said.