Resident doctors in Nigeria, appear set for another showdown with the Federal Government as they have given the federal and state governments a September 30 deadline to implement all pending issues affecting the health sector in the country.
Addressing a press conference at the end of the 36th Annual General Meetin and scientific Conference of The National Association of Resident Doctors, (NARD in Enugu, the newly elected President of the asscoiation, Dr. John Ugochukwu Onyebueze, said the doctors were unhappy with the infrastructural condition of the hospitals as well as the penchant of many Chief Medical Directors of Teaching Hospitals to disorganise the structure of the residency programme.
Flanked by General Secretary, Dr. Aneke Emmanuel, Treasurer, Dr. Aloysius Ifedinso Ugwuoke, Public Relations Officer, Dr. Asinobi Ugoeze, as well as the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, chapter chairman, Dr. Chukwuma Oraegbunam, the NARD president declared that the union “cannot guarantee industrial harmony in the health sector if this persists beyond the payment of September salaries.”
He outlined the burning issues to include improvement of infrastructure, urgent action against poliomyelitis and Lassa fever, as well as immediate release and implementation of the report on the Residency Training Programme.
He declared: “Are you talking about the rickety beds in the accident and emergency? We do not even have gloves and emergency tools. We do not have pens to write and make prescriptions. We are saying that this thing must not continue.
“The Federal Government should expedite action on the release of the bailout funds for State Tertiary Health Institutions as agreed earlier.
“The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency ensure the migration of all our members to the IPPIS platform.
“Centres that are not deducting pension contributions from our members should immediately commence, while all centres should ensure full remittance of deducted contributions of our members to the Pension Fund Administrators.
“In line with extant labour laws, we reject in its entirety the ‘no work no pay’ rule as currently being applied by the Federal Ministry of Health.”
He decried what he called unjust sacking of doctors, poor remunerations of resident doctors in State Tertiary Health Institutions, STHIs, with most having to endure many months without salaries, while others have been confined to irregular emoluments of varying percentages even in the present arduous economic conditions.
“Prominent among them are LAUTECH Ogbomosho; LTH Osogbo; NDUTH Okolobiri; ABSUTH Aba; IMSUTH Orlu; KSSH Lokoja; ESUTH Enugu; EKSUTH Ado-Ekiti”, he said. “We called on erring managements of the above hospitals to immediately and unconditionally reinstate all unjustly sacked doctors.
“Our members in FMC Owerri are yet to receive their December 2015 salaries despite several assurances by all parties that it would be paid,” he added.
Onyebueze also decried the pitiable state of hospitals across the country, insisting that these issues must be addressed before September 30.