The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has warned that the ongoing strike action by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) may lead to loss of lives in Nigeria.
He expressed fear that this is a very trying time for Nigeria with the COVID-19 pandemic and appealed to resident doctors to show empathy by calling off the strike.
Speaking during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja, Ehanire assured them that their sundry demands are being attended to.
“We held a meeting with the House Committee Chairman on Health. The National Association of Resident Doctors were also in attendance. At that meeting, they had not yet declared their position on the strike.
“But it was from the meeting that we were able to clarify many of the issues that they have been raising.
“I also did request that this is not the time to go on strike; not when we have a very difficult situation on our hands. I asked them to show enough empathy to know that we will continue to work on their demand and they should not down their tools because the lives that may be lost in that process are not replaceable.
“But we are very certain that the issues that were raised will be attended to, even though some of them are not very new and some of them date back to a few years ago. Some of them have nothing to do with COVID-19, but have to do with Residency Training Programs. They are all being attended to. There are series of demands and some of them are not current.”
The minister added that demands with respect to the personal protective equipment (PPE) have been dealt with that.
“We have supplied all the personal protective equipment to states and to Teaching Hospitals and that one is off the table.
“The one for the welfare of the healthcare workers, including that for the frontline healthcare workers are being attended to. In fact, there is a meeting to which we are being invited tomorrow by the Honorable Minister of Labour and also members of the National Assembly in trying to make sure that these issues are attended to,” Ehanire added.