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The Federal Government may sack the striking resident doctors if the strike persists beyond today.
This was contained in a fresh memorandum of terms of settlement reached at the end of a meeting held at the instance of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, with executives of the Nigerian Medical Association, NARD; Chief Medical Directors, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), including other relevant government officials, and made available to newsmen in the early hours of yesterday in Abuja.
A crucial meeting of the executives of NARD and the Federal Government in Abuja today will determine the way forward in the ongoing strike.
At today’s meeting in Abuja, resident doctors would choose to either back down or return to work while giving the Federal Government time to address their demands or call the bluff of the government and continue the strike until their demands are met by the government.
When contacted, President of the Association of Resident Doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (ARD-LUTH), Dr. Adebayo Sekumade, said that NARD would issue a statement on the way forward.
NARD said its members are not intimidated by the pronouncement of government if they decide to proceed on the ongoing nationwide strike after today.
National Publicity and Social Secretary of NARD, Dr. Ugoeze Asinobi, told New Telegraph that the doctors are used to such pronouncements by government.
“We are not deterred from doing what is right for the growth and development of our members. Government cannot intimidate us into suspending the strike.
“We are yet to decide on when to hold the emergency meeting, but when we do, whatever stand we reach with our members is what we will do. If our members are not satisfied with the terms of agreement reached at the conciliatory meeting, we will forge ahead,” Asinobi said.
Earlier, at a meeting the NARD executives held with Ngige, the minister had strongly condemned the strike embarked upon by NARD despite signing a Memorandum of Terms of Settlement, saying it was a distrust of government commitment to execute its own end of the Terms of Settlement, which was in line with the provisions of Section 5 of the Trade Disputes Act, CAP. T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004.
“The meeting agreed that NARD National Officers are to present the outcome of the re-negotiated Memorandum of Terms of Settlement to an emergency meeting of its members by Friday, September 8, 2017 with a view to suspending the strike once there is evidence of payment of the mandate as presented to the meeting, to the affected institutions.
“No member of NARD will be victimised as a result of this strike if suspended, after the emergency meeting of Friday, September 8, 2017,” the settlement read in parts.
Meanwhile, investigations by the New Telegraph at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi (NOHIL) yesterday, showed that the tertiary health facility were discharging in-patients and giving fresh appointments to patients that had been booked to see their doctors.
When the patients arrived the hospital yesterday, record staff on duty simply issued them with a new appointment date, while informing them there was on ongoing doctors’ strike.
The doctors who were working, said to be consultants, were only attending to critical issues that had to do with bleeding or cases that were referred from other health facilities that needed urgent medical attention.
According to New Telegraph investigations, a security guard at the Out-Patient Department (OPD), said some patients seeking the doctors’ attention were not even aware of the ongoing strike. He also noted that registration of patients in some private hospitals could attract as much as N55,000, which many affected patients could not afford.
Our correspondent spoke to one Mr. Tobi, who said he brought his sick brother to the hospital, but was told that doctors were on strike.
At the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), about 150 resident doctors stayed away from their duty posts in compliance with the strike directive from NARD, according to Dr. Muhammad el-Yakub, president, Association of Resident Doctors at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (ARD- UMTH).
The strike paralysed normal medical activities after the resident doctors in the state joined the industrial action on Tuesday.
The strike coincided with medical challenges occasioned by Boko Haram insurgency and cholera outbreak in Maiduguri.
Only senior surgeons, medical consultants and other cadre of health workers were attending to patients at various departments of the hospital.
newtelegraph

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