The National President of the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD), Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi has refuted the claim of the Minister of Health that the issues leading to the strike by the medical doctors are state issues and not Federal Government issues.
He claims that the payment of arrears spanning over years is done by the Federal Government, insisting that the Minister of Health is misleading the public.
Okhuaihesuyi in an interview with Channels TV addressed the issues that led to the strike, stating that an ultimatum was given to the Ministry of Health on the 21st of January, 2021.
He said that the ministry was notified of the intention to embark on a nationwide strike on the 26th of July, 2021 if the demands of the association were not adequately addressed within 116 days.
The issues he raised included; no death-in-service insurance for the 19 doctors who lost their life tending to Covid-19 patients, arrears owed to the association members have not been paid, shortfall of salary from 2014 to 2016 have not been paid, doctors hardship allowance of N5,000 has also not been paid.
He expressed his distaste at the neglect of the ministry to the living conditions of the doctors which has been worsened by the inconsistent salary payment.
He further mentioned that the Head of Service released a circular removing house officers from the scheme of service.
As a response to whether there are better methods to make their requests known to the government without a strike and ensuring that the public does not suffer from the clash between the NARD and the Federal Government, Dr. Okhuaihesuyi said, “Strike does not have to be the last resort and it is unfortunate that the people are made to suffer for the failure of the FG.
“The Minister of health knew there was an ultimatum from July 26 to 30 and chose not to address the issues despite the sufficient ultimatum period and did not show intentions of calling off the strike.”
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The Federal Government had earlier disclosed that demands made by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in their strike are usually the responsibilities of state governments.