Doctors under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have hinted that the leadership of the National Assembly has invited them for a meeting on Friday.
The President of the NARD, Dr. Emeka Orji made this known during a television interview yesterday.
According to him, “What we are hearing in the media is that the government is negotiating with us, but nobody has called us for any negotiation, except that they are negotiating with other Associations. It was only this afternoon that I was informed of a meeting convened by the National Assembly for May 19.
“I got the invitation this afternoon but outside that, there has not been any negotiation since May 15 when our National Executive Council (NEC) had an extraordinary session and declared the five-day strike.”
Recall that on April 29, 2023, issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet its demands. The 14-day ultimatum ended on May 13, 2023.
Also, on Wednesday, May 17, the NARD began its five-day warning strike over unmet demands. The warning strike is expected to end on Monday, May 22, at 8 am.
Chief among the association’s demands are: Among them are: 200 per cent review of their Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), issuance of a circular by the House of Representatives jettisoning the bill by Hon. Ganiyu Johnson, which seeks to stop young doctors from leaving the country without a five-year service period.
Other demands are: issuance of a circular by the Federal Ministry of Health for replacement of doctors and nurses that have left the system with new ones, and the payment of salary arrears, improvement in hazard allowance by state governments, among others.
The doctors stressed on the need to hire clinical personnel in hospitals to replace those that have left the system, as well as the elimination of bureaucratic restrictions on the rapid discharge of doctors and nurses from the system.
Additionally, the doctors want infrastructure improvements, which will be of immense benefits, not only to the doctors, but to the entire citizens of the country.
Speaking with journalists during a meeting to inform them about the warning strike, Dr. Orji said: “It will come to a point where we don’t have doctors or Nurses to treat the masses.
“Poor remuneration is one of the common causes of brain drain in Nigeria, and until when doctors are well paid, we will continue to experience brain drain in the country.
“Both federal and state governments should take the necessary actions needed in the health sector, regardless of the fact that they go abroad to take treatments while leaving the masses who have no money to travel to suffer.”
The NARD President, while warning that if the problems in the health sector, particularly their demands are not addressed within the timeframe of the, warning strike, its members may be forced to consider going on an indefinite strike.