The Federal Government on Tuesday directed the management officials of federal tertiary hospitals across the coontry to enlist the services of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to maintain routine services in place of resident doctors.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, in a statement, gavebthe directive as part of efforts to “mitigate the effect” of the strike by resident doctors across the country.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had embarked on a nationwide strike on Monday over the non-payment of their COVID-19 hazard allowance and other demands.
Reacting to the situation in a statement on Tuesday, the minister said the action as ill-timed and ill-advised, given the COVID-19 pandemic, reminding the doctors that their primary responsibility was to save lives, and that it was expected of them to work together to confront COVID-19, “the common enemy”.
Said Ehanire: “We must remember that the primary duty of doctors and all health workers is to save lives. Embarking on a strike in this time that the country is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic is ill-timed and ill-advised.
“It is a critical time in which all well-meaning medical professionals should close ranks and confront the common enemy, which is the COVID-19 pandemic threatening mankind.
“This is therefore one strike too many. Besides, most of the demands have been met and others, though difficult, are at an advanced stage of implementation. A little patience would have made a big difference”.
To address the absence of the resident doctors as a result of the industrial action, Ehanire gave federal health institutions four guidelines to comply with.
Durected he: “COVID-19 treatment outlets should continue to function as before; emergency services should continue to run as before; routine services should be maintained with consultants, NYSC Doctors; locum staffers to be brought in when and where necessary to forestall services disruption when applicable and affordable.
“I call on the NARD to return to work and engage the Federal Government in completing the ongoing due process of implementing the MoU between NARD and government.
“I wish to assure the general public that measures have been put in place to ensure that they continue to access services at all our federal tertiary hospitals across the country”.