From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have threatened to shut down public healthcare facilities beginning on April 1 over unpaid salaries and other welfare packages.
The resident doctors have also demanded the sack of the Registrar of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, for failure to demonstrate competence in the handling of the central placement of house officers.
NARD President Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said the decisions were taken at the extra ordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Association that ended in at the weekend.
He said the decision was to compel the government to attend to their needs which has long been delayed.
He said that NEC bemoaned the suffering of some NARD members in GIFMIS platform who have not been paid salaries for four months now due to delay in biometric capturing by IPPIS department.
He also lamented the inhumane treatment been meted on their members in some state tertiary institutions like ABSUTH who are being owed 24 months salaries, IMSUTH five months salaries and UNIMEDTH three months.
He said the only way the strike could be avoided is to ensure immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers including March salaries, regardless of quota system, before the end of business on March 31.
‘We want immediate review of the Act regulating Postgraduate Medical Training in Nigeria in line with International best practices to remove the unnecessary rigors in residency training in Nigeria, one of the factors attributed to brain drain in the health sector.
‘We also want immediate commencement of employment into all government-owned hospitals to improve service delivery to Nigerians, enhance residency training and curb the attendant brain drain in the health
‘We also demanded the reintroduction of medical super salary structure and specialist allowance for all doctors as already approved for some other health workers. This will go a long way in ensuring peace in the
Meanwhile, the leadership of NARD has accused the MDCN Registrar of ineptitude which, they said, has worsened the situation.
‘This will give room for smooth implementation of the central placement of house officers without further delays. Dr Sanusi is obviously frustrating the effort of young doctors who are on housemanship, some of whom have not being paid salaries for several months,’ Okhuaihesuyi said.
When contacted, Dr Sanusi, asked Nigerians to disregard the claims of the resident doctors that he or MDCN are responsible for the delay in the payment of their entitlements. He challenged the doctors to revisit their previous correspondence regarding the matters raised.