The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) are preparing to embark on an indefinite strike following a 21-day notice served to Federal Government to meet their demands.
According to him, the resolution was reached by members of the association at the end of its extra ordinary executive council. He listed some of their demands to include payments of members’ salaries till date, appropriate placement of members in both states and federal tertiary hospitals across the nation.
Others were the reversal of sacked members in some hospitals as well as appropriate funding of residency training programme. Askira noted that some of their members in states tertiary hospitals in Osun, Imo, Ekiti, Abia and Kogi, among others, have not been paid salaries ranging from three to eight months, adding that labourers deserved their wages.
He described that of Osun State government as worrisome, noting that it has remained at ease in spite of the total collapse of the healthcare delivery in the state and its attendant loss of lives.
Askira, however, urged the government to adequately fund hospitals at all levels and upgrade existing facilities in public hospitals in line with internationals best practices.
He recalled President Buhari said that upgrading public health facilities would aid in curbing medical tourism. But NARD, he said, will no longer tolerate the undue sack of resident doctors therefore demand immediate reversal of such, and urge government at all levels to stricly comply with pension deductions act as amended in 2014.
“We urged the government to ensure appropriate and adequate remuneration of our members at various hospitals,” Askira said.
Reacting to the health minister’s threat that any health worker that engaged in the proposed industrial action would forfeit his salary, Askira noted that the first thing should be penalty for work without pay before such penalty.
Askira requested the minister to disclose penalties for work without pay before the penalty for no work no pay. He said resident doctors would help politicians deliver democratic dividends, describing anybody who denies them their entitlement as an enemy of Nigerians.
“My only concern is the situation whereby the government allows people to go on strike. “Looking at our demands they are solely the responsibilities of the government; at the moment doctors in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Irrua and FMC Owerri have not been paid their December salaries.
“Residents doctors work all day and night meeting the health needs of ordinary Nigerians that come to us for consultation. “When a big man in Abuja is involved in an accident or whatsoever we are the first to receive him; then why this maltreatment?
“The only way any democratic dividend will reach a Nigerian is through us and anybody that stops us from receiving our entitlement is an enemy of Nigerian people, and if we continue in this way then they are not ready for a change.”