By Hassan Zaggi
The Federal Government has disclosed that it has taken some steps aimed at resolving the concerns raised by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) media briefing in Abuja, on Thursday.
It would be recalled that at the end of its year 2020 Annual General Meeting, NARD in a communique warned that it would embark on indefinite strike if the government fail to meet its demands after 14 days.
The National President of NARD, Sokomba Aliyu, who read the communique, decried the poor treatment and harassment of medical doctors in the cause of performing their duties.
“NARD demands immediate recall of the sacked resident doctors at Jos University Teaching Hospital and payment of their salaries,” the communique read.
“NARD demands immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance, payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance. NARD condemns all illegal deductions in salaries of our members by some state governments and demands an immediate refund.
“NARD calls on security agencies to stop the harassment and assault of doctors while carrying out their legitimate activities.
“The association hereby issues a 14-day ultimatum to the government to meet her demands failure of which the association cannot guarantee industrial harmony,” the group said.
However, at the media briefing Thursday, Ehanire disclosed that: “The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Federal Ministry of Health and the Speaker of the House of Representatives have been engaging the NARD to address issues raised by the young doctors.
“We also had conversation with Ministry of Finance agencies and health related associations, which addressed issues of welfare and allowances to frontline health workers.
“Complaints on availability of PPE’s have been addressed with the supply of materials to states, and separately to Federal Medical Centers (FMC).
“The disengaged resident doctors at University of Jos Teaching hospital were recalled by the Board of Governors.
“I am confident that resident doctors will show understanding and reciprocate government’s efforts on the assurance that grievances shall be addressed.
“I wish to thank the Rt. Hon. Speaker for his intervention and the Hon. Minister of Labour for his commitment to ensuring industrial harmony in the Health Sector.”
On COVID-19, the Minister revealed that his ministry had since commence plan “for targeted community sensitization activities in 20 high burden local government areas and workshop in Infection Prevention and Control on COVID-19 for healthcare workers of Public and Private Hospitals in the FCT.”