If the Federal Government fails to meet the demands of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) in the next three weeks, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) may embark on a solidarity industrial action.
The NMA’s position was made known in a statement signed by its President and Secretary-General, Innocent Ujah and Philips Ekpe, respectively.
On Saturday, the NMA called on the Federal Government to settle with other doctors’ associations with which it had a crisis before the 21-day ultimatum expired.
Currently, the NMA, which is the parent organization of NARD, and the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) are responsible for skeletal services rendered by public health institutions in Nigeria since NARD went on strike on August 2 over unmet demands by the government.
NARD has more members than any other doctors’ group in the country. It consists of medical graduates on housemanship and those training for graduate medical education (GME) while working in hospitals.
Housemanship in Nigeria refers to training in preparation for participation in the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), while residency refers to those who have completed NYSC.
In its statement titled ‘Nigerian Medical Association Affiliates Industrial Disputes with Federal Government,’ the NMA said it decided to issue the statement after its National Executive Council meeting, which ended on Saturday in Benin City, Edo State.
“After due consideration, NEC put the Federal Government on a 21 days’ notice to fully resolve all the issues contained in the various agreements signed with affiliate members of the Nigerian Medical Association (including MDCAN, MEDSABAMS (Medical and Dental Specialist Association in Basic Medical Sciences) and NARD).
“The Nigerian Medical Association fully supports all her affiliates in their efforts to improve the healthcare delivery in Nigeria and the welfare of her members.”
The NMA also says no doctor should be victimised for participating or failing to participate in the strike by NARD.
The association said it would summon an ’emergency delegate meeting’ to review the progress made on implementing the agreements, should the Federal Government fail to implement the agreements after the expiration of the notice.
On August 26, the Federal Government issued a memo threatening to invoke ‘no work, no pay’ policy on NARD.
The memo would also affect any health worker in the tertiary hospital proceeding on strike, the government said.
Adebimpe Adebiyi, the Director of the Department of Hospital Services, signed the memo with reference number C. 5194/T/407 and addressed it to all chief medical directors and medical directors of tertiary hospitals.
The NARD resumed the strike it suspended in April on August 2, following the failure of the Federal Government to meet its demands.
It is also aggrieved with the state governments of Ondo, Ekiti, Imo and Abia, which owe its members for months.
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