Abuja – The President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Jibril Abdullahi, said on Friday the nationwide strike by the association was suspended in the public interest.
Abdullahi said this in an interview with Journalists in Abuja on Friday.
The association suspended its more than three-week long strike, which started on Oct. 1, after its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the suspension of the strike was signed at the meeting between the leadership of the association and representatives of the Federal Government and labour.
“Our last discussion was on Monday Oct. 21; that was exactly three weeks after the start of the strike.
“The government made some concessions, although they did not meet the target of our members.
“We felt in the interest of what is happening in the country, namely: the outbreak of cholera in Lagos and Gusau; the outbreak of Lassa fever in Abakaliki, it was high time we soft-pedaled and allowed dialogue to continue, hoping that the government will play its own role in ensuring our agreement is implemented.
“The President and Commander-In-Chief has already mandated the Minister of Health and Minister of Finance to work together in resolving this impasse.
“We felt the commitment of the President is good enough for us to tell our members in the interest of the country, the health of our people, we should soft pedal and resume our duties.“
Abdullahi said that the Federal Government constituted a task force to ensure the immediate payment of the funds released for the settlement of salary arrears owed its members in 15 hospitals across the country.
He added that an inter-ministerial committee on residency training would also be constituted to work toward a comprehensive residency training framework for the country.
Abdullahi called on patriotic Nigerians to take up the issue of residency training as a matter of national discourse which would help in transforming the health sector collectively.
He said: “Residency training is not only in our interest but first of all in the interest of the whole nation.
“So, we can ensure our country attains the level of expertise whereby we will end this waste of foreign exchange in the pursuit of medical tourism abroad.’’
The association went on strike over the non-payment of salary arrears of some doctors for over four months under the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) arrangement.
Other issues were the training and retraining of resident doctors and the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (NAN).