Resident doctors defer strike, say 50% of demands met by FG
Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has deferred its proposed nationwide strike, saying the Federal Government has met more than 50 per cent of its demands.
The National President and Senior Registrar, Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Dr. Emeka Innocent Orji, told The Guardian yesterday: “We have deferred any possibility of strike for now. The Federal Government has met two out of our three major demands. They have paid the 2020 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) two weeks ago. They have also released a new circular. We are supposed to have a stakeholders’ meeting tomorrow (today). They have not met our demand for review of Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS). They have, however, set up a committee to address that.”NARD had, in January 2023, petitioned Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on unresolved issues affecting members.
It had said if the issues were not resolved before its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting scheduled for January 24 to 28, 2023, doctors might embark on a nationwide industrial strike.
The medics said it had issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government six months ago on pending issues affecting its members. The letter was titled: “Imminent nationwide industrial harmony in the health sector: A matter of urgent administrative importance.”
NARD’s demands include: Addressing irregularities in the new circular on upward review of Medical Residency Training Fund; outstanding payment of arrears of the new hazard allowance; non-payment of skipping arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016; non-payment of consequential adjustment of the minimum wage to some of its members; delay in upward review of CONMESS, salary arrears of members in state tertiary health institutions running into several months, including Abia, Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe states and non-domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act in most states.
While supporting government’s plan to introduce performance-based remuneration for healthcare workers to reduce brain drain in the country, the NARD boss disagreed with Minister of Health’s claim that the current administration pays 90 per cent cost of training consultant doctors.
“They want to assess job description of health workers, not just doctors. We support that, but they need to carry us along.”
BUT, the Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria (CPAN) disagreed.
Its Chairman, who is also a clinician, consultant and a fellow of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, Dr. Joseph Madu, said: “Yes, the Federal Government is right in the claim that it pays 90 per cent of the cost of training residents, who eventually become consultant physicians, but does not do so for resident pharmacists or other health care professionals such as resident nurses.”
The West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), West African College of Nursing (WACN) and West African College of Surgeons (WACS) engage in postgraduate training for pharmacists, nurses and surgeons and are all organs of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), which is the health institution of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) tasked with the mandate of ensuring attainment of highest possible standard and protection of health for the people in the sub-region.