• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Strike: FG says not responsible for most of doctors’ demands

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Nigeria’s minister of health, Osagie Ehanire has said most of the demands made by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) are not within the jurisdiction of the Federal Government and do not merit a nationwide strike.

This is as the minister warned the association not to allow themselves to be used by “enemies of the country to cause instability in the health sector.”

NARD began an indefinite strike on August 2, 2021 over delayed payment of salaries, allowances, and poor conditions of service.

The minister speaking in Abuja on Thursday said of the 12 resolutions of NARD’s national executive meeting of June 25, 2021 that were submitted to the ministry, only five issues are related to the Federal Government while resolutions 6-12 are employer/employee issues to be resolved at individual, state government level, of which the Federal Ministry of Health has no jurisdiction.

These, according to him are: salary arrears owed resident doctors in state hospitals; Domestication of Medical Residency Training Act(MRTA) by state governments; speedy release of MRTA approved funds by states; minimum wage- adjusted CONMESS 2019; payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance by states; accreditation of unaccredited departments in state training institutions, and central posting of house officers in state institutions.

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He stressed that health is an item on the residual legislative list of the Nigerian constitution, which means that federal and state government each have separate powers.

Ehanire said NARD has been advised to meet with the respective state governments, who are independent employers of some NARD members at state hospitals, in their own right, to resolve matters of specific concern between them.

The minister stated that the country is faced with the threat of the third wave and the Delta strain, and it is therefore, imperative that health care professionals ensure uninterrupted health care service delivery to all citizens.

He added, “Dialogue is always the best approach to conflict resolution and the Federal Government has always been prompt in attending to labour issues in the health sector whenever it occurs. It is on record that the reason(s) for industrial actions declared by NARD has been discussed extensively with NARD and implementation of the Resolutions adopted by both the NARD and government agencies involved led by the Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.”