By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has frowned at the non payment of outstanding salaries to its members at various health centres across the country.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its 38th Ordinary General Meeting (OGM), held at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria between May 6 to 11, 2018.
“NARD frowns at the fact that salaries of our Members at various Federal Health Institutions are still being withheld by earlier mentioned Hospital Management and call on all responsible to urgently pay all outstanding Salaries to our diligent and hardworking Members,” it stated.
According to the communiqué jointly signed by its President, Dr. Ugochukwu Chinaka, Secretary General, Dr. Osinachukwu V. Nnadi and Publicity and Social Secretary, Dr. Ugochukwu Eze, NARD also rejected pay parity between Doctors and Allied Professionals as this would erode relativity and distort emolument hierarchy in the Health sector.
“The consequence would not be good for the Health sector. Relativity is sacrosanct,” it explained.
The group raised concerns about the continuous threat posed by Lassa fever and other infectious diseases in parts of the Country with its associated risk and death of Health workers.
“The recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and response by the Federal Government of Nigeria,” it noted.
Also as part of its resolutions, NARD still called on Government to setup Regional Infectious disease centers of Excellence across the country to ease the pressure at ISTH, Irrua and to stem the needless loss of lives to Lassa fever.
NARD appreciates the recent scale of surveillance at the Country’s land borders and airports. This has helped curb the threat of Ebola Virus, regulate and report entry of suspected infectious individuals and prevent the spread of the deadly disease in Nigeria.
NARD enjoins all Healthcare workers at all times to imbibe Universal Health precautions and best hygiene practices such as regular handwashing and maintaining personal and environmental cleanliness.
NARD again demands Comprehensive Life Insurance for all Healthcare Workers in Nigeria.
NARD reiterates that security is a right of all Nigerians and demands Government to provide Security for all irrespective of location.
The ongoing advocacy with the Board of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) is welcomed, but NARD wants Government to impress on the JUTH Board and Management to reinstate all unjustly sacked Resident Doctors in JUTH immediately.
Delegates resolved to extend the ultimatum by 21 days, starting from Monday 14th May 2018. This extension is to avail Government time to reinstate our sacked Members in JUTH with full benefits and also meet outstanding agreement contained in the above stated MOTOS, after which NARD may not guarantee industrial Harmony.
NARD enjoins the Government of Osun State to urgently look into the welfare of our members at LTH Osogbo and resolve all lingering issues pertaining to the welfare of our Members in Osogbo.
Delegates unanimously called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to urgently take over Tertiary Healthcare from State Governments. This will not only protect the welfare of our Members in SUTHS, it will guarantee specialist Healthcare delivery to the Nigerian populace.
The group expressed that there is a 30 day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government on JUTH and Government’s inability to redeem the agreements contained in the 6th September, 2017 Memorandum of Terms of Settlement (MOTOS) noting that the said ultimatum elapsed 13 days ago.
“The welfare of our Members in the State University Teaching Hospitals (SUTHs) across the Nation is still not encouraging.
“Special mention is that of our Members at Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital Osogbo, where Members have been perpetually short changed. Adjusted CONMESS is yet to be paid and the already perceived incomplete salary has been halved by the State Government. Our Members in Osogbo are still being owed Six months salaries (November 2015 – April 2016).
” The Government of Osun state that is yet to completely pay our Members’ salaries is implementing full PITAS (Tax System) which has worsened the state of our Members. Also, our Members in Osogbo have not been promoted since 2015.
“NARD has unfortunately noted that state Governments across the Nation have repeatedly demonstrated inability to manage Tertiary Healthcare,” it said.
NARD said that despite the ongoing industrial action by other Health workers (JOHESU) for almost one month, their members who constitute the largest pool of doctors in the country have been working assiduously to provide the available Healthcare to the Nigerian Populace.
“We also embarked on our Corporate Social functions Tagged: The Doctors Reach Out Programme (T-DROP) at the Zaria Orphanage and home for people with Special needs.
“The Business Session of the Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) held at the Conference Hall of the Organo Hotel GRA Zaria on Friday 11th May 2018 where pertinent issues concerning the State of our Association, Healthcare delivery in Nigeria, Residency Training Programme and welfare of our members were reviewed,”
The group in its observation decried the spate of killings of helpless Nigerians by armed groups in different parts of the country.
“Though the board of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) is favorably disposed to resolving the impasse between NARD and JUTH, the Management is still yet to recall the Resident Doctors unjustly sacked over the years. This current position of JUTH Management is capable of disrupting the already fragile understanding between NARD and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“There have been pockets of assaults on our members at their duty post by the violent arm of JOHESU across the country in Hospitals like Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Ituku-Ozalla, and Federal Medical Centre Owerri.
Despite the extra effort put into work by our Members in various Federal Teaching Institutions in the face of ongoing challenges (UITH Ilorin, LUTH Idi-Araba, OAUTHC Ile-ife, UCH Ibadan, UNTH Ituku-Ozalla, ISTH Irrua, FMC Asaba, FMC Owerri, FMC Umuahia, FNPH Uselu FMC Abeokuta and NOH Igbobi), sadly April 2018 salaries is still being delayed in these institutions.
“The Residency Training Act haven been passed long ago by the legislature is still awaiting Presidential assent despite its being central to addressing the challenges in Post Graduate Medical Training in Nigeria,” it noted.
NARD does not have issues with pressure groups including Health workers agitating for better working conditions. However, we condemn a situation where they resort to cheap blackmail and violent assault on our Members at their duty post. We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria; Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) to ensure the security of Doctors and all Staff working in Hospitals across the Country during this JOHESU strike and beyond. NARD demands that CMDs of Hospitals where our Members are assaulted bring the perpetrators of these violent acts to book.
NARD also wishes to align with her parent body the NMA by reminding Government that any adjustment in CONHESS should be matched with corresponding adjustment of CONMESS.
“We unanimously request the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to graciously assent to the Residency Training Program Act in order to resolve all contentious issues affecting the training of Resident Doctors in Nigeria.
The OGC had as its theme “Healthcare Delivery in the face of rising Insecurity: The Role of Doctors, the Responsibilities of the Government” under the chairmanship of Dr. Stephen Kitchener ably represented by Prof. Aisha Indo Mamman.
The Keynote Speech was delivered by Dr. Osahon Enabulele, Past NMA President & Vice Chairman Common Wealth Medical Association.
Other Speakers were Her Excellency Hajiya Aisha Ummi El-Rufai, Wife of the Kaduna State Governor who delivered a lecture on the sub-theme “Health Needs of the Girl Child and Abused Women in Our Contemporary Community” and Prof. Sylvanus Okogbeni, Chief Medical Director, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital,Irrua who delivered a lecture on “Lassa Fever and the Resident Doctor”.
Other events during the weeklong activity included a Courtesy visit to Prof Khalid Lawal mni, the Chief Medical Director, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika, Her Excellency, Wife of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Hajiya Aisha Ummi El-Rufai and the Emir of Zazzau Emirate, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Dr. Shehu Idris CFR.