The President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Emeka Orji, on Thursday, said the National Assembly has invited the association for a meeting on Friday (tomorrow).
Residents doctors across 79 tertiary health facilities commenced a five-day warning strike on Wednesday to press home their demands.
The doctors are demanding an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of the current gross salaries of doctors.
The doctors also want immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals, and immediate withdrawal of the bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to render five-year compulsory services in Nigeria before being granted full licences to practise.
They also want the immediate implementation of CONMESS, domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act, and review of hazard allowance by all the state governments as well as private tertiary health institutions where any form of residency training is done; among others.
NARD said work would resume on Monday, May 22, 2022, by 8 am.
Speaking during a programme on Arise Television, Dr Orji said the Federal Government had invited the doctors for a meeting.
He said, “All we are hearing on the media is that the government is negotiating with us but nobody has called us for any negotiation except they are negotiating with other associations but not NARD.
“It was only this afternoon, a few minutes ago that I was informed of a meeting convened by the National Assembly tomorrow (May 19, 2023); just this afternoon, I saw the invitation but outside that, there has not been any negotiation since Monday, May 15, 2023, that our National Executive Council had an extraordinary session and declared the five-day strike that commenced yesterday.”
On replacing the striking doctors with ad hoc staff, the NARD President said he wishes the government good luck.
“Part of the major demands we have in our notice of strike is for the Federal Government to quickly replace the clinical staff that has left the system. We have been saying that we have a massive manpower shortage in our hospitals and we do not have enough numbers to contain the influx of patients in the hospitals across the country.
“So, if the government who has refused to do that is now waking up to employ ad hoc staff as a way for resolving this issue, I wish them good luck, but just like I have been saying, as long as they do not negotiate with good fate, the crisis in the health sector will continue, our members are watching.”
He also warned that threats from the government will escalate the crisis in the health sector.
“All they have heard so far from the government are just threats and those threats they are issuing will be what will escalate the crisis we have already.
“So, I want to call on them again to do the right thing. Our demands are clear, they are specific, they are achievable and these are things they can achieve in a matter of days, all they need to do is to show good faith and commitment to achieving them and leave all these threats. It is not going to help anybody,” he added.
According to Punch’s report that medical services have been paralysed in government hospitals across the country since the doctors began their five-day warning strike.
Our correspondents, who monitored the strike in different states on Wednesday, observed that hospitals were offering only skeletal services to cushion the effect of the strike.
Hospital officials say the medical and dental consultants, nurses, and other health workers who are not involved in the strike were overwhelmed.