House Committee Urges Resident Doctors To Call Off Strike

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The two-day negotiation meeting initiated by the House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services with a view to ending the ongoing nationwide strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors NARD, on Tuesday, ended in a deadlock.

After almost seven hours of meeting, the NARD delegation led by its President, Dr. Okhuiahesuyi Uyilawa vowed not to suspend the nationwide strike until all the 17-point demands are met.

The demands include immediate payment of salary arrears and skipping arrears from 2014 to 2016 which amounted to N23 billion; stoppage of the casualization of Doctors, immediate withdrawal of the controversial circular on the removal of Health Officers from Scheme of Service as well as regularization of employment of some of the Resident Doctors employed by public hospitals during emergency situations.

The government’s delegation led by the Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunmimbe Mamora has strongly vowed to follow the bureaucratic due process on the verification of names of Resident Doctors before the payment of the N5.42 billion outstanding salaries and allowances.

Sen. Mamora further said that the health authorities may impose sanctions over the recruitment of medical personnel without following due process despite the emergency situation.

The tripartite meeting resolved that the Federal Ministry of Health will initiate the payment of the outstanding (Medical Residency Training Funding) 2020 – 2021, while the issue of salary skipping and shortfall must follow the due process before affecting the payment.

On the issue of manpower in the health sector, the meeting stressed the need for Emergency Medical Replacement Policy, as well as Health Workforce Requirements, needs to bridge the personnel gap created by the exit of medical officers,

While stressing the need for building trust between the unions and the government the meeting suggested setting up a committee to consider the personnel gap in the health sector.

The meeting also set up an interagency committee and given two months to design means of engagement of temporary manpower in the health sector for both doctors and non-doctors and that the office of the Head of Service will fast tract the regularization of the appointment of those whose salaries were stopped and payment be effected.

The Chairman House Committee on Health Services Dr. Tanko Sununu in a remark at the end of the two days Tripartite Meeting urged the striking Resident Doctors to suspend their industrial action in the interest of the nation.

Dr. Sununu said the meeting has agreed on almost all the Doctor’s grievances and that efforts are being made to implement the agreement for the benefit of Nigerians.

Those who attended the meeting include, the Minister of State for Health, Permanent Secretaries Ministry of Finance and Head of Service, Director General Budget Office, Chief Medical Directors of Federal Health Institutions as well as NARD and NMA executives.

Rebroadcasted:Okwosi Esther

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