Friday Olokor, Dayo Ojerinde, Deborah Tolu-Kolawole, Olufemi Olaniyi, Dogara Bitrus, Daud Olatunji and Dennis Naku
10 August 2021
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Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors on Monday defied the directive by the Federal Government to resume to their duty post of face sanctions.
Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, i had threatened the striking doctors with a no-work-no- pay policy.
The National President of NARD, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, in an interview with our correspondent had disclosed that the association would not resume.
A visit round selected hospitals in Abuja on Monday revealed that the resident doctors stuck to their guns.
At the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, our correspondent noticed that patients were left unattended to.
The centre’s spokesperson, Olomofe Kayode, in an interview with our correspondent stated that medical consultants were overstretched.
He said, “We have limited consultants here and they are overstretched. There is no way they can attend to all the patients.
Similarly, a visit to the National Hospital, Abuja also revealed that striking resident doctors refused to show up.
NARD, NASS in six-hour meeting, continue today
Meanwhile, the leadership of NARD on Monday met with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health, Tanko Sununu; alongside the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; and some other stakeholders.
The meeting lasted about seven hours.
Okhuaihesuyi told our correspondent that the meeting was adjourned till Tuesday (today).
He said, “The meeting lasted for seven hours. We started at 11am and we ended the meeting by 6pm.
“We discussed issues, including the medical residency funds among others but no consensus has been reached.
“The meeting has been adjourned till tomorrow (Tuesday). We will be meeting tomorrow again by 11am.”
LUTH opens attendance register
Meanwhile, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital on Monday opened an attendance register for the striking resident doctors as directed by the Federal Government.
Recall that the Federal Government had reportedly mandated all chief medical directors in teaching hospitals across the country to open attendance registers with a view to stopping salaries of doctors taking part in the strike called by the NARD.
A circular dated August 9 signed by the LUTH’s Director of Administration, Mr Babajide Grillo, by the hospital management directed the heads of clinical departments to submit the attendance register by 4pm daily.
The circular, titled, ‘Re: Notice of NARD Indefinite Strike Action,’ partly reads, “Further to our circular Ref No: ADM/HRM/Circular/Vol.1/212 dated August 2, 2021, all heads of clinical departments are requested to maintain daily attendance register for resident doctors in line with the Federal Government police of ‘No Work, No Pay.”
As of the time our correspondent visited the hospital, no member of the striking resident doctors have signed the register.
Also, the Presidents of the NARD at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba and the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Dr Samuel Aladejare and Dr Ethel Egekun, said the management of their hospitals had not notified them of any attendance register.
‘We won’t sign any register’
Likewise, the resident doctors at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo Strate, has said its members will not sign any register.
The President of the NARD, UCH chapter, Dr Temitope Hussein, said this in an interview with our correspondent in Ibadan on Monday.
He said, “The reasons we embarked on strike are very important. These have not been addressed so we are not bothering ourselves on the plan to open registered. It is not part of our discussion.”
UMTH NARD ignores FG
Likewise, resident doctors at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital have refused to resume work.
The Chairman of the NARD, UMTH chapter, Dr Sadiq Kaka, said on Monday that there was no attendance register for the striking doctors, adding that the strike would continue until fresh directive from the national body on the union.
“As of today being Monday, I, the chairman of UMTH chapter of NARD, have yet to receive any directive from our national body instructing us to report to work.
“The Federal Government’s threat not to pay our salaries if we do not resume work is a farce because we are together in solidarity with our national body irrespective of the circumstances,” Sadiq Kaka said.
Doctors shun duty in Ogun
Striking resident doctors at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, have ignored the threat by the Federal Government on no-work-no-pay directive.
Our correspondent observed that no member of NARD resumed forwork on Monday.
The President of Resident Doctors at FMC, Dr Adebiyi Victor, said, “The position of the association is clear; if they didn’t do the needful, we are not going back to work.”
NARD end strike, hails govt on decisions
The National Association of Resident Doctors at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital called its strike on Monday.
The chairman of NARD at the RUSTH, Dr George Ela, disclosed this in a statement in Port Harcourt.
Ela said the decision followed robust and fruitful engagements with the state government.
The statement reads partly, “As a product of these engagements, we are happy to inform Rivers people that the legislative processes that will build up to an accelerated hearing and ultimate domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) 2017 has commenced in ernest through the office of the Chairman, House Committee on Health of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“To reciprocate government gesture and goodwill and to ameliorate the suffering and pains of Rivers people, congress has resolved that our members should return to the clinics from 8am on Monday 9 August, 2021.”
He lauded Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike-led government for “this generous and gracious move and thank Rivers people for standing by us during this period.”
FG blames ex-administration’s ‘unworkable agreement’ for doctors strike
The Federal Government on Monday said the ongoing strike by the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors was due to the outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID – 19.
The government added that the doctors should reconsider, suspend the shrike in national interest and return to the negotiating table.
The Minister of State (Labour and Employment), Festus Keyamo (SAN), stated these during the capacity strengthening training workshop on advocacy and communication for women cooperatives from the the Nigerian for Women Projects.
The event was organised by Development Research and Projects Centre and sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners.
Keyamo said most of the agreements causing industrial relations ripples between government and labour unions were inherited by previous administrations.
He said, “I think government should live up to its responsibilities to workers; agreements that are signed should be respected, most of these agreements, we inherited them.
“In the past, it used to be that many governments had to enter into agreements that were perhaps not workable, just because they wanted to get over the problem and so they acted in bad faith with labour unions.
“That, of course, is not acceptable at all, but if you get into agreement with workers, it is the bonding duty of government to also respect those agreements.
“The only thing is the procedure for airing your grievances. If, for instance, like we do in the Ministry of Labour, your strike is apprehended, we in labour relations know strike is not a war.”
“For the health workers, the problem is the Ministry of Health, we are the ones who try to make peace at the Ministry of Labour, but once we know that a strike has been declared, we quickly apprehend the strike by calling them immediately to the round table and I wanted to say that my colleagues and I never abdicate the responsibility to immediately intervene.
“So we appeal to health workers, especially at this time when we have the outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID – 19, we should not have a situation where health workers are going on strike. So it’s an appeal to the health workers to please look at it from this angle.”