Resident Doctors’ Strike: Nigerian govt fumes, accuses doctors of violating agreement

Striking doctors in Nigeria used to illustrate the story
Doctors in Nigeria used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: Esabod]

The federal government said on Monday that it was disappointed that resident doctors commenced a nationwide strike despite reaching “a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Federal Ministry of Health on its 6-points demand.”
 
The resident doctors announced the commencement of the indefinite strike on Monday after a meeting of the executives of its association, NARD.
 
The government’s position was contained in a statement by the Deputy Director Press in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere.
 
Mr. Olowookere said the government was utterly disappointed that NARD, without enough reasons, reneged on an agreement, detailed with timelines for faithful implementation. 
 
“In view of this unfortunate development, the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by the Trade Dispute Act 2004, has apprehended the on-going strike by NARD. Consequently, the meeting between NARD and government earlier scheduled for November 2, 2017 is now convened for Wednesday, 6th September 2017 by 12 noon at the Conference Room of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment. ”
 
“All stakeholders are implored to attend this crucial conciliation meeting. The health and well-being of Nigerians are cardinal to President Buhari administration. Hence, every measure necessary shall be taken to restore normalcy,” Mr. Olowookere said.
 
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr. Ngige on Friday announced that the doctors had agreed, after a meeting with a government delegation, to suspend the strike. The doctors later refuted the claim, but confirmed he meeting held.
 
Earlier on Sunday, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, appealed to the striking doctors to suspend the action in the interest of Nigerians who are in need of medical care.

The strike is expected to adversely affect healthcare in public secondary and tertiary hospitals in the country, particularly the teaching hospitals.

A statement released by the ministry of health on Monday stated that the minister assured of the federal government ‘s commitment to address all the issues in contention.

Mr. Adewole, who also confirmed the planned Wednesday meeting, said that the government needed a little more time to address all the issues. 

Resident doctors are doctors practising at secondary and tertiary hospitals as part of their post-graduation studies.

The resident doctors, or resident officers, in Nigeria usually practice in a hospital under the direct or indirect supervision of an attending consultant and are usually under government employment.

The President of NARD, Onyebueze John, in a communique released after an executive meeting of the association in the early hours of Monday, asked the doctors to proceed on the strike until their demands are met.

Some of the demands of the striking doctors include the implementation of the National Health Act and the resolution of persistent shortfalls and unpaid arrears of salaries earned in both federal and state tertiary health institutions.


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