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NASS wades into doctors strike, other health workers’ issues

By News Desk

The National Assembly has appealed to the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to “consider the situation in the country” and call off the strike embarked upon on August 2 by embracing dialogue and other conflict resolving mechanisms.

The lawmakers, while lamenting the effect of the ongoing industrial action on the nation’s health sector, particularly at a time the country was battling coronavirus third wave outbreak, noted that the continued absence of the doctors at their duty post could spell doom for the country.

The Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Dr Tanko Sununu, who spoke on behalf of the parliamentarians, noted that the strike has grounded healthcare delivery nationwide and situations of those on admissions and others in need of urgent medical attention had continued deteriorating.

Sununu, who made the call at the inauguration of a sensitisation campaign organised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Abuja on Wednesday, said that while the doctors have their right to protest issues bothering on welfare and other service conditions, the professional must also consider ordinary Nigerians whose existence depends on their services.

According to him, I am calling on NARD to please look at the situation of the country and call off the strike. We do know that there have been issues raised and we are working hard to ensure that those issues are resolved within the shortest possible time. However, we need their cooperation.

“Luckily for us, and as it was even observed in their communique, the National Assembly made provision for many allowances for NARD with residency training fund inclusive,” he said.

He expressed the hope that the assembly would get the cooperation of everybody, including the executive arm of government, to fast track the calling off of the strike.

“We do hope that the hardship that we have suffered will be short-lived because we will agree and
reach a conclusion that will help this country,” he added.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, also appealed to the doctors to return to work. He said that it was imperative for doctors to call off the strike because it could lead to loss of lives and any life lost would never be regained.

He added that “any issue with strike is about money and you can say you will pay in arrears but there are no arrears for life and our primary responsibility as doctors is to save lives.

“In view of this, whatever the issues are, they can always be resolved through dialogue. So, I join my colleagues to call on the doctors to go back to work while discussions are ongoing to resolve the issues at stake.”

Oloriegbe said that it was important for Nigerians to access healthcare from qualified and competent doctors in the nation’s public hospitals. He further expressed hope that NARD would yield to the call and ensure that services were not stopped in hospitals.

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