UPDATED: Nigeria dares striking doctors, orders hospitals to hire interim physicians

Medical Doctors (health workers) attending to patients used to illustrate the story health
Doctors attending to patients used to illustrate the story

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole has directed heads of federal hospitals to immediately engage the services of locum doctors to augment the services of consultants, NYSC doctors and doctors on internship pending the resolution of the on-going strike by resident doctors.‎

The Ministry of Health in a statement on Tuesday stated that the minister gave the directive as a counter measure to the resident doctors strike so as to ensure continual health service delivery in the country.

This directive was contained in a circular Ref. No. C. 3132/Vol. V/116, of September 5, 2017, addressed to all Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of federal tertiary health institutions across the country.

Resident doctors in the country are currently on strike and the action is expected to have a negative impact on health service delivery in secondary and tertiary hospitals.

Resident doctors are post-graduate doctors on training at secondary and tertiary health institutions in Nigeria especially teaching hospitals. They are also under the employment of the federal government during their residency.

The National Association of Resident Doctors began its industrial action on Monday to compel the government to honour the memorandum of understanding it signed with the association in 2013.

The minister in an attempt to get the hospitals functional for continued service delivery to the public had earlier directed the heads of of federal government hospitals to ensure that all other doctors in various strata are deployed to fill the vacuum.

This was to ensure that patients get medical attention and are not turned back as resident doctors are known to attend to the bulk of the patients in government hospitals.

Mr. Adewole issued the circular in an attempt to reduce the increased workload of consultants, NYSC doctors and House officers thereby preventing reduction in quality of service delivery to patients.

He had earlier approved the use of Armed Forces, Police and Federal Road Safety Health Facilities in ensuring continuous provision of health care services in the hospitals.

This new directive was to further provide additional support to the federal government hospitals to strengthen service delivery.

Mr. Adewole also assured the public to remain calm as the government is committed to fulfilling her mandate of providing healthcare to its citizens no matter the circumstances.

The government and the executives of the striking doctors are expected to meet today, Wednesday.

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