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Strike Looms As Resident Doctors Issue Two-week Ultimatum To FG

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Resident Doctors Suspend Five-day Warning Strike, Resume Work

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has asked the federal government to implement agreements concerning their demands within the next two weeks or face industrial action.

Naija News reports that the doctors made the disclosure in a communique issued on Saturday at the end of their Extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abeokuta, Ogun state.

The meeting which was held from Thursday to Saturday, was concerning the burning issues affecting the welfare of the doctors and the alarming rate of flight of doctors and other healthcare workers on account of poor remuneration.

Other issues raised by the doctors were the grossly inadequate funding of the health sector and the attendant negative effect on the citizens and the health workers.

The doctors are demanding an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) to the tune of 200 percent of the current gross salary of doctors in addition to the new allowances included in the letter written by the association to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on July 7, 2022, on the review of CONMESS.

The communiqué signed by the NARD President, Dr Emeka Orji; Secretary-General, Dr Chikezie Kelechi; and Publicity and Social Secretary, Dr Umar Musa, noted that there had been previous ultimatums issued to the government by the association on the review of the CONMESS.

The NEC said despite several engagements by NARD with the government on the need to upwardly review the CONMESS, which was last adjusted over 10 years ago, adding that it had not taken any tangible step to address the issue.

It reiterated that the previous collective bargaining agreement on the CONMESS stated clearly that the salary structure would be due for review after five years, but this had not been done since the implementation in 2014 though the approval was given in 2009.

It noted that many state governors had yet to implement the appropriate CONMESS structure, domesticate the Medical Residency Training Act or improve on the hazard allowance paid to resident doctors and other health workers while owing a backlog of salary arrears.

Apart from the upward review of CONMESS, the NEC also demanded the immediate withdrawal and jettisoning of the bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to render five-year compulsory services in Nigeria before being granted full licences to practise.

The communiqué read in part, “NEC demands the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund in line with the agreements reached at the stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Federal Ministry of Health at the Honourable Minister of State for Health’s conference room. This should be done without further delay.

“NEC demands the commencement of payment of all salary arrears owed to our members, including 2014, 2015, and 2016 salary arrears, as well as areas of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage. NEC demands immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in hospitals and complete abolishment of bureaucratic limitations to the immediate replacement of doctors who leave the system.

“NEC demands immediate infrastructural development in our various hospitals without further delay and insists on at least 15 per cent budgetary allocation to health subsequently.”

The council also demanded the immediate implementation of CONMESS, domestication of the MRTA and review of hazard allowance by all the state governments as well as Private tertiary health institutions where any form of residency training is done.

It added, “NEC demands the immediate commencement of payment of all salary arrears owed to our members by the various state governments, notorious amongst which is the Abia State Government.

“NEC resolved to issue the government a two-week ultimatum beginning today (Saturday), 29th of April, 2023, to resolve all these demands, following the expiration of which on the 13th of May, 2023, we may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the sector nationwide.”

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