The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, NARD, has said that the strike it embarked upon yesterday is painful but unavoidable.
The association said the strike became necessary because of what it described as the failure of the Federal Government to “appropriately” respond to its demands despite a 21-day ultimatum earlier declared, which expired on Monday.
The association, therefore, appealed to Nigerians for support to address the challenges facing the na tion’s health sector and curb what it described as capital flight to foreign countries in search of medical care.
NARD National President, Dr. Jubril Abdullahi, said this yesterday in Kano while addressing journalists, stressing that the decision was taken at the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting of the association in Abuja on Saturday.
Abdullahi, who works with Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, directed his members to withdraw their services as from 8a.m. yesterday until they received instructions to the contrary, adding that the attitude of the Federal Government to articulate a comprehensive guideline for residency training in Nigeria also necessitated its action.
“We wish to express our regret on the untoward hardship this decision may cause Nigerians.
We, therefore, call on all well-meaning citizens to prevail on the government of the federation to respond appropriately,” Abdullahi said. He also identified other reasons for the strike to include failure of the recently reintroduced overseas clinical attachments for resident doctors, the refusal to redeem the 10 per cent meant for the health personnel, incessant industrial disharmony in many training centres as a result of unwarranted disengagements, withholding of entitlements and victimisation of resident doctors.
“The NEC noted that despite several agreements between the Federal Government represented by the Ministry of Labour, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, office, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, OAGF, Budget Office of the Federation, BOF, and NARD that by the end of August 2013 all the problems and discrepancies relating to the implementation of IPPIS would have been sorted out including the payment of all arrears, the issue are still lingering,” Abdullahi stated.
The NARD president also noted that rather than working towards identifying the factors militating against the successful implementation of IPPIS in the health sector, the Federal Government resorted to expunge resident doctors from the platform.
Meanwhile, the association has also condemned the failure of the Enugu State Government to implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, for its members in the Enugu State University Hospital, Enugu.
The president, however, decried the implementation of the salary structure to a select group in the institution; a development it claimed had hampered effective health service delivery and residency training. He, therefore, gave Governor Sullivan Chime a 21- day ultimatum to address the issue.
The doctors also resolved that the Federal Government must immediately produce a blueprint on residency training in conjunction with NARD and other stakeholders, adding that the blueprint must contain all aspects of residency training, including local training modules, funding and overseas attachment.
They also resolved that all irregularities in emoluments following the implementation of IPPIS must be sorted out immediately, stating that all arrears of nonbeneficiaries and grossly underpaid in the past four months must be settled.
“Furthermore, all institutions already on the IPPIS platform should be retained and concerted efforts made to identify and correct factors impeding the successful implementation of IPPIS.
“In addition, no new health institution should be recruited until all anomalies are fully resolved. Thus, the Federal Government must employ more constructive means of resolving the challenges involved.”