The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) says any no-work-no-pay directive issued by the Federal Government aimed at compelling the association to end its indefinite strike will not work.
Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, the NARD President, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Rather, Okhuaihesuyi urged the federal government to hold accountable relevant agencies responsible for addressing the issues previously raised by the association during its earlier strike in April for dereliction of duty.
“The federal government may come out to insist on no-work-no-pay. They may try to threaten us with this directive from tomorrow; they can do that but they should remember that anyone that has not done his work first should also be punished.
“The relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that are yet to carry out their duties in ensuring that these issues are addressed should be held accountable, because this strike will not happen if they did their jobs.
“Some members of the association are being paid N5,000 as hazard allowance when individuals in the Upper and Lower chambers of the National Assembly are receiving between N1.2 million to N3 million or more for hardship allowance.
“We need to get our priorities right. We lost 19 residents to COVID-19 and as it stands, their families are yet to receive any death benefits.
“We cannot ignore the fact that the doctors that died in the line of duty during the COVID-19 pandemic have families and children that attend schools and need to feed and survive, ” he said.
Okhuaihesuyi stated that although the association was aware of the difficulty the absence of doctors in hospitals would pose to patient care, the strike was necessary to ensure doctors were no longer denied their dues to enable them to function optimally.
“Our demands are not new to the government.
“The salary structure of doctors needs to be improved because there is non-payment of salaries to many health workers in some states and also an irregular salary structure in others. Some health workers receive incomplete salaries.
“For example, doctors in Imo state have not received their salary for about eight months and there is non-salary payment for doctors at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital for 19 months.
“There is non-payment of salary for doctors at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Ekiti for over one year.
“Doctors need to be captured into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) to streamline the salary structure, ensure conformity and consistency in payment,” said the NARD president.
Okhuaihesuyi also urged the federal government to address the issues raised by the association to prevent further strikes leading to lack of access to healthcare by the public.
“Resident doctors in the FCT have responded to the national call to commence an indefinite strike and they began the strike at 8 a.m Aug. 2, 2021. In the FCT alone, there are about 15,000 resident doctors.
“Resident doctors constitute the highest number of doctors in teaching hospitals in Nigeria, so invariably it is mostly us who are at the first point when patients present at the hospital.
“Commencing a strike means that healthcare delivery will be largely affected in hospitals across the country,” he asserted.
NAN reports that NARD embarked on the inationwide indefinite strike to press home the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding it entered into with the federal government in March 2021. (NAN)