The Federal Government has asked resident doctors to put away their threat to embark on a national strike in the country.
Labor and Employment Minister Dr. Chris Ngige made the appeal in a conciliatory meeting with the National Association of Resident Physicians (NARD) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Journalists recall that NARD had threatened to close public health facilities as of April 1, due to unpaid wages and other welfare packages.
Ngige said that most of the disputed welfare issues were almost resolved even before the letter of compliance and notification of a planned strike action were delivered to the ministry.
“We are here because we have started to solve your problems. We submit time-bound proposals on how to address them.
“We will discuss those proposals with you, we will set adequate deadlines for people on the government side to implement and mark them as they are executed.
“I had informal meetings with the Ministry of Finance and they told me that they had started to solve some of the problems.
“The two committees of the National Assembly have also tried to get you and your employers on the same page.
”We have to intervene to guarantee labor peace in the healthcare industry. We are also in a very bad period in terms of health around the world, and Nigeria is no exception.
“So we have to think about the generality of Nigerians. Because right now, 80 percent of Nigerians are our patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So we have to look at the problems that way and see how we can make the best of this situation,” he said.
Therefore, he asked resident doctors to consider the difficult situation of 80 percent of citizens who need health services, in case they withdraw their services.
He said that, as a conciliator, the complaint had been adequately communicated with the relevant ministries, adding that several meetings were taking place and proposals had been drawn up to address the situation.
In addition, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdullahi Mashi, appealed to the doctors to reconsider the possibility of going on strike.
Mashi urged the doctors to reconsider their decision, as most of the problems on the ground were almost resolved.
“Most of the problems are almost solved, the only thing left is to get NARD’s commitment to suspend the strike. All efforts are being put into practice, ”added Mashi.
NARD President Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, who spoke on behalf of its members, said that they looked forward to solving all problems and complaints during the meeting.