Please don’t go on strike, Buhari begs doctors
The president met with the officials of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) a the state house and promised that the federal government would honour all agreements with the doctors.
Also, shortly after the NMA officials’ meeting with the president, the health minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole assured that the doctors would not embark on the planned strike as he was sure there would be an amicable settlement at the meeting he had scheduled with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD ) on Monday.
“I was once the NARD president. That is my constituency so, there will be no strike,” Adewole declared at a press conference in Abuja.
The National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, Monday, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet its demands or face indefinite strike. At a briefing in Abuja, NARD, through its President, Muhammad Askira, said members resolved to give the ultimatum at the end of its extra ordinary executive council meeting.
He listed some of their demands to include payment of members’ salaries to 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.
Askira noted that some of their members in states tertiary hospitals in Osun, Imo, Ekiti, Abia and Kogi, among others, had not been paid salaries ranging from three to eight months, adding that labourers deserved their wages. He described that of Osun State government as worrisome, noting that it had remained at ease in spite of the total collapse of the healthcare delivery in the state and its attendant loss of lives.
He said: “We note the undue sack of our members from some of the training institutions. Additionally, the delay in effecting the pension deductions of our members was regrettably noted. Whereas a labourer deserves his wages, we note that some of our members in some state-owned tertiary hospitals have not been paid salaries ranging from three to eight months. Most notable are LAUTECH, Ogbomoso in Osun State, IMSUTH, Orlu in Imo State, Kogi Specialist Hospital, ABSUT, Aba in Abia State and Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital.
“Most worrisome is the government of Osun State that remains unperturbed despite the total collapse of health care delivery in the state and its attendant loss of lives. We note with dismay the inappropriate placement and remuneration of our members in states and federal tertiary hospitals across the nation. As such, most hospitals are paying our members only fractions.
“Most hospitals are paying our members only fractions of their salaries, notably FETHA Abakiliki, FMC Umuahia, ABUTH Zaria, UNTH Enugu, among others, while in UCH Ibadan, UBTH Benin City, LUTH Idi-Araba, FMC Owerri, ISTH Irua, and NOH Dala November and December 2015 salaries are yet to be paid.”
Askira, however, urged the government to adequately fund hospitals at all levels and upgrade existing facilities in public hospitals in line with international best practices.
“We implore government to adequately fund hospitals at all levels and upgrade existing facilities in our hospitals in line with international best practices which will go a long way to curb the menace of foreign medical tourism.
“We urge governments at all levels to release and implement residency training guidelines with appropriate budgetary backing. Our association will no longer tolerate the undue sack of resident doctors and demands immediate reversal of such. We also urge government at all levels to strictly comply with pension deductions act as amended,” he said.
Asked about the consequences of the association’s action following the “no work, no pay rule” by the Federal Government, Askira said such a threat did not bother the association, and that government had no moral justification for it.
“The issue of no work, no pay is a matter of law, and we are law abiding. But we are working for months without pay. We are ready for it. We are making demands that are primarily the responsibilities of government. Government can’t rule out strike when it fails to play its part. Doctors in some hospitals have not been paid since December.”