From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Doctors under the umbrella of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have threatened to shut down public health care facilities beginning from April 1 over unpaid salaries and other welfare packages.
They also demanded the sack of Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Dr. Tajudeen Sanusi, for failing to demonstrate competence in handling the central placement of house officers.
NARD President, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, who disclosed this, yesterday, said the decisions were taken at the extra ordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association which ended at the weekend.
He said the aim of the strike was to compel the government to attend to their needs which had been delayed for too long.
He bemoaned the sufferings of some NARD members who have not been paid salaries for four months, the inhumane treatment meted on members in some state tertiary institutions like ABSUTH where they are owed 24 months salaries, IMSUTH five months and UNIMEDTH three months salaries.
He said the only way the strike could be avoided was to ensure immediate payment of all salaries owed 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.We also want immediate commencement of employment into all government- owned hospitals to improve service delivery to Nigerians, enhance residency training to curb the attendant brain drain in the health sector. We also demand 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 health sector.”
NARD accused the MDCN Registrar, of ineptitude demanding his sack, saying “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.”
When contacted, Dr. Sanusi, asked Nigerians to disregard the claims of resident doctors that he or MDCN was responsible for the delay in payment of their entitlements. He challenged the doctors to revisit their previous correspondences regarding the matters raised.