In reaction to the ongoing nationwide strike by Resident Doctors, the Nigerian Government has directed the Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of Federal Government owned Tertiary Hospitals to make use National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members as replacement for the striking doctors.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire directed that consultants and doctors on the NYSC scheme should be brought in to provide basic medical services alongside locum staff to prevent the breakdown of service delivery.
Resident Doctors started a nationwide industrial action majorly over the non-payment of their COVID-19 hazard allowances amid a host of other grievances.
Issuing a statement on Wednesday, the Minister said;
“lt is with deep concern that l view the ongoing strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors which commenced yesterday (Tuesday) September 7, 2020.
“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 COVlD-19 pandemic is ill-timed and ill-advised.“
“lt is a critical time in which all well-meaning medical professionals should close ranks and confront the common enemy, which is the COVlD-I9 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.
“The Federal Ministry of Health finds it necessary to ensure measures are put in place to mitigate the effect of this strike on the generality of our populace by directing the CMDs/MDs of our federal tertiary hospitals to immediately do the following: COVlD-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.
The minister thereafter called on the striking resident Doctors to return to work and continue to work with the Federal Government in completing the MOU signed by both parties.
“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.” he concluded.