Management officials of federal tertiary hospitals across the country have been directed to engage the services of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to maintain routine services in place of resident doctors.
The directive was issued in a statement by Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, as part of efforts to “mitigate the effect” of the strike by resident doctors across the country.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had embarked on a nationwide strike on Monday over the non-payment of their COVID-19 hazard allowance and other demands.
Reacting to the situation in a statement on Tuesday, the minister said the strike is ill-timed and ill-advised, given the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ehanire reminded the doctors that their primary responsibility is to save lives, adding that it is expected of them to work together to confront COVID-19, “the common enemy”.
“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 COVID-19 pandemic is ill-timed and ill-advised,” Ehanire said.
“It is a critical time in which all well-meaning medical professionals should close ranks and confront the common enemy, which is the COVID-19 pandemic threatening mankind.
To address the absence of the resident doctors as a result of the industrial action, Ehanire gave federal health institutions four guidelines to comply with.
“COVID-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 said.
“I call on the NARD to return to work and engage the Federal Government in completing the ongoing due process of implementing the MoU between NARD and government.
“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.”