FG Sacks Resident Doctors over Strike

*Directs heads of federal health institutions to fill vacancies

By Paul Obi in Abuja

The federal government on Tuesday sacked all resident doctors under the umbrella of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) who are striking against government’s inability to address their demands.

In a statement signed by the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Boade Akinola, the government directed heads of all federal health institutions to fill all the vacancies created by the strike embarked upon by NARD members.

According to the statement, “The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has directed the Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) and Medical Director (MDs) of Federal Government Tertiary Health Institutions to fill the vacancies created by Resident Doctors who have abandoned their training programme by refusing to report for work.

“The directive was contained in a circular signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Amina Shamaki and sent to the CMDs and MDs of the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions.

“The Circular read as follows: “It has come to the notice of the Management of the Ministry that some Resident Doctors in your establishment have voluntarily withdrawn from the Residency Training Program by refusing to report for training without authorization. Public Service Rule, PSR 030402 (e) is relevant.

“This is in spite of the ongoing negotiations on their demands put forward by the representatives of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association.”

Akinola stated that “in view of this development, you are hereby directed to replace all the Doctors that have withdrawn their services, with others from the pool of applicants for the training programs in the various disciplines in order not to create ominous gap in training with attendant disruption of health care delivery in your facility.”

The statement further stressed that “the ministry is working with the panel on the review of the Residency Training Program in Nigeria, led by Professor Wole Atoyebi, the Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College, to fast-track the development of a comprehensive blueprint for postgraduate training of doctors in the country. Please, ensure immediate compliance.”

The sack came after several failed negotiations between NARD and the federal government over work condition, training and other welfare package.

THISDAY learnt that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, had already intervened on the matter, seeking to find a solution to lingering the crisis.

NARD National Liaison Officer, Dr Paul Agwu, confirmed the meeting to THISDAY, stating that the Minister of Health, Prof. Adewole, NARD officials and the leadership of the house were already holding a meeting as at the time of going to press.