The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has urged striking resident doctors to exercise patience and call off their strike, as most of their demands are in the advanced stage of implementation.
By Moses Emorinken, Abuja
In the interim, the Minister has directed CMDs/MDs of Federal Tertiary Hospitals to continue the management of COVID-19 patients in treatment centres, and to engage consultants and NYSC doctors for delivery of routine health services.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Ehanire said, “It is with deep concern that I view the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which commenced yesterday 7th September 2020.
“We must remember that the primary duty of Doctors and all health workers is to save lives. Embarking on a strike at this time that the country is battling with the COVID-l9 pandemic is ill-timed and ill-advised.
“It is a critical time in which all well-meaning medical professionals should close ranks and confront the common enemy, which is the COVlD-19 pandemic threatening mankind.
“This is therefore one strike too many. Besides, most of the demands have been met, and others though difficult, are at an advanced stage of implementation. A little patience would have made a big difference.”
He added, “The Federal Ministry of Health finds it necessary to ensure measures are put in place to mitigate the effect of this strike on the generality of our populace by directing the CMDs/MDs of our Federal Tertiary Hospitals to immediately do the following:
“COVID-19 Treatment Centers should continue to function as before; Emergency Services should continue to run as before; and routine services should be maintained with Consultants, NYSC Doctors.
“Locum staff are to be brought in when and where necessary to forestall services disruption where applicable and affordable.
“I call on the NARD to return to work and engage the Federal Government in completing the ongoing due process of implementing the MOU between NARD and Government.
“I wish to assure the general public that measures have been put in place to ensure that they continue to access services at all our Federal Tertiary Hospitals across the country.”