The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors have listed payment of outstanding doctors’ salaries and hazard allowances minimum, enrolment of doctors in the integrated personal payroll information systems, amongst others, as minimum conditions to call off its indefinite strike which commenced on Monday, August 2, 2021.
The National President of NARD, Dr. Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, made this known on Friday while speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
According to him, Nigerians should hold the Federal Government and the Ministers of Health – Osagie Ehanire and Olorunnimbe Mamora responsible for the ongoing industrial action by the resident doctors in the country.
Uyilawa said, Today (Friday) makes 117 days since we gave notice of strike and that means we gave enough notice to the government. Initially, a strike ultimatum was given on January 1, which is 180 days ago before we had this problem. You (government) signed an agreement with us; you told us that you are going to make everything work but as it stands, nothing has been achieved by them.”
Continuing the NARD President said, “The basic thing any Nigerian wants is good healthcare. Tell us any zone in Nigeria where we have good functional hospitals, where every basic thing is there.
“Now, we have a brain drain or a brainstorm where all doctors are running to Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States to get better things to work with, to get better insurance, to get better security, you have not thought of how to develop the hospitals we have but instead, you are thinking of our to punish NARD that gave you a strike notice of 117 days because you are not doing your job.
“In other climes, those people should resign from their job and let competent hands handle what is happening.
“Has the ministers, permanent secretaries and directors not been paid their salaries? And they expect a young man just starting his career not to be paid for seven months and those in state institutions not being paid for eight months and you expect them to provide better services? It is a wrong concept. It means the government and the ministry of health are not doing enough for Nigerians as a whole and Nigerians should hold them responsible for their failure in achieving good health practices.”
When asked of the minimum requirements to be achieved by the government for the resident doctors to go back to work, Uyilawa said, “We lost 19 doctors to COVID-19 and the basic thing is to try and make the health system functional. All we ask for is that our minimum requirement be met. Let the health requirement be functional.
“Let our people that have died, their next of kin get the benefits so that their husbands or wives that died do not die in vain while serving the nation. Let the people that have been owed salaries be paid. The scheme of service brought in by the head of service be withdrawn…We will gladly go back to work as soon as possible.”