Following the industrial action embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, on Monday, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has directed heads of federal government hospitals to ensure that all other medical doctors in the other strata are available to fill the vacuum.
The resident doctors are post graduate doctors on training at secondary and tertiary health institutions in Nigeria especially teaching hospitals. They are also under the employment of the federal government during their residency training.
The resident doctors, however, began a total and indefinite industrial action on Monday in order to get the government to agree to their demands.
This is not the first time the resident doctors would be embarking on nationwide strike this year on same demands, with the government negotiating with them and promising to implement some of their demands.
However, the association has claimed those demands have not been met. The strike could cripple the smooth running of health activities at secondary and tertiary healthcare sector because the resident doctors are majorly the first point of medical call for patients in the hospitals.
In response to this expected outcome, the minister has directed the medical directors and the chief medical directors of federal government owned hospitals to ensure that consultants and Youth Corps doctors as well as doctors on internship are on duty to provide health services at the hospitals in order to ensure there is no break in healthcare services.
The minister assured all Nigerians that the federal government’s health facilities will be open and render services to the people while the government continues to dialogue with the resident doctors to return to work.
“Arrangements are also on to make use of Armed Forces, Police and Federal Road Safety Health Facilities, he said.
Mr. Adewole, however, expressed optimism that the problem will be resolved soon as the warring parties are expected to meet again on Wednesday.
A statement released by the health ministry on Monday stated that the government needs time to address the concerns of the doctors.
According to Mr. Adewole, “It is hoped that more progress would have been made in reaching a consensus in all the issues being discussed.”