Barely three weeks after it shelved its action to down tool, the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) yesterday in Abuja warned the federal government to strictly adhere to agreements reached with the body or risk another round of strike across the country.
At a press briefing which was held at the National Hospital in Abuja, NARD President, Dr Jubril Abdullahi, said after several weeks of monitoring the implementation of agreements signed, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the association, â€œobserved that government is yet to fully implement the agreements reached relating to proper funding of residency training, implementation of payment system and welfare of our members.â€
The association, the president explained, was also worried over â€œthe sudden and unwarranted removal of teaching allowances from the emoluments of some category of our members despite paying it to allied health workers and the presence of an adopted position on its retention for all doctors.â€
Also of great concern to the association is the â€œtermination of rural posting allowances in institutions that hitherto have been enjoying it,â€ stressing that, â€œthis is surprising as the relevant authorities saddled with the responsibility of determining rural centers are yet to sit.â€
The association also took a swipe at statements credited to Allied Health Professionals Union (AHPU) and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) over the increment of doctorsâ€™ salaries and allowances by government, adding that: â€œIt is pertinent to state that contrary to stories being peddled by partners nay adversaries in the industry that a new salary package has been approved for doctors as contained in the joint AHPU and JOHESU press briefing of March 10, what was done was to correct and injustice done to doctors 22 years ago.â€
NARD further warned government that failure to address the imbalances in the sector or any attempts to disrupt the relative peace in the health sector, â€œgovernment should also be ready to face another round of disruption of services in the country by our members.â€
The association new threat to down tool is contrary to assurance by its NEC members and Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, to rescind from any further strike. Chukwu, on the other hand, had in a conversation with THISDAY assured them of the federal government commitment to implement the said agreements.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, has directed the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and its partners to ensure that Nigeria exits from polio endemic countries in line with the presidential deadline on the programme.