Resident doctors remain sacked – Health Minister

Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigeria's health minister.

The Nigerian government has stuck to its decision to sack resident doctors and suspend the residency programme in teaching hospitals, despite mounting condemnations and resident doctors resuming at their duty posts.

While addressing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, Nigeria’s Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said despite news reportage on the resumption of duties of doctors and the calls to reinstate resident doctors, the federal government had not rescinded its decision.

The Nigerian Medical Association [NMA] called off the 55-day old strike with a demand that the federal government immediately withdraw the circular suspending the residency programme and sacking resident doctors.

“Delegates demand immediate withdrawal of the government circular (Reference No. C3132/v/46 of 13th August, 2014) suspending the residency training program and sacking of over 16,000 resident doctors, who constitute about 70% of doctors’ workforce in Nigeria,” the NMA had said in a communiqué .

“The NMA urge government, on its part, to reciprocate her good will in ensuring that resident doctors whose appointments were so terminated are reinstalled immediately without any punitive measures,” the NMA communiqué read.

Although the group kept its word and went back to the hospitals on Monday, the federal government said it is yet to receive a notification from the association calling off the strike.

He said the residency programme remained suspended until the President decides otherwise.

“Residency programme was suspended by the federal government, meaning they have been disengaged.

“It is true that over the weekend we read in the papers that the Nigerian Medical Association has called off the strike. But we are yet to see any letter communicating that to us.

“We will move forward when we get a letter from NMA suspending the strike, then the minister of health will advise Mr. President, so for now residency programme remains suspended,” he said.

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