Enugu – The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged the Federal Government to withdraw all court cases instituted against the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to engender amicable resolution.
The Chairman of NMA Enugu State Branch, Dr Jude Onyia, made the call on Tuesday in Enugu while speaking to newsmen on the lingering strike that had reduced the capacity of government-owned hospitals nationwide.
The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Monday ordered striking members of NARD and the Federal Government to suspend all forms of hostilities and maintain status quo.
Justice John Targema, the presiding judge in his ruling, gave the order pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice, explaining that he granted the application after careful consideration of the processes filed by the applicants.
Reacting to the development, the Enugu NMA Chairman, Onyia noted that at no time had industrial disputes been settled amicably in the court, saying for an harmonious settlement to be reached, dialogue is the answer.
Noting that the resident doctors remained the major professional workforce in tertiary health institutions in the country, constituting over 50 per cent of the professional workforce, Onyia said although the medical consultants might be working but it might not be effectively; while patients to be attended would be reduced as well.
He maintained that it would be in the best interest of all for amicable settlement and plights of doctors looked into objectively.
“The National Executive Council of the NMA will be meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 25, in Benin, where we hope to discuss the strike extensively but the Federal Government must withdraw all court suits against NARD in the interest of the citizens.
“The government needs to also withdraw the circular by the Head of Service removing House Officers and NYSC doctors from the scheme of service.
“There should be relative atmosphere of peace for dialogue and roundtable discussion, which is the needed negotiation to take place to reach a solution,’’ he said.
Onyia lamented the insensitivity of the paltry N5,000 given to doctors as hazard allowance in the face of their exposure to dreaded diseases such Lassa fever, Ebola and COVID-19, which had claimed the lives of their colleagues.
“The government and entire nation have to rally round our doctors to check their exodus from the country, which portends more danger for the health sector and wellbeing of the entire citizens.
“If the current number of doctors still giving service in the country, is further reduced, it will surely tell on the health system of the country.
“The capacity of the medical system to have good number of medical professionals to attend to unforeseen nationwide health emergencies, will also be mitigated” he warned.
The NARD began the strike on the 2nd of August, while it claimed that one of its reasons for the strike, was due to the failure of the government to meet its demands after they entered a memorandum of action in 2014.
One of the demands was for the withdrawal of the circular by the Head of Service removing House Officers and NYSC doctors from the scheme of service.
NARD also wanted Federal and state governments to address the issues of welfare, training and service delivery.