THE National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has called for an increase in the wages of its members engaged by states and the Federal government.
The association also gave the states and the Federal government two weeks to honour all agreements they had reached with the doctors, threatening its members would proceed on strike if this was not done.
Besides, the NARD wants the Federal government to increase allocation to the health sector to 15 per cent of the national budget, which heads of governments in Africa agreed with in what is famously known as the 2001 Abuja Declaration.
The association also urged the Federal government to take steps toward curtailing the brain drain in the health sector and find ways of eliminating all bureaucratic bottlenecks in the employment and replacement of doctors leaving the nation for greener pastures.
In a communique issued today at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting and Scientific Conference in Lafia, Nasarawa State, the NARD said both the Federal and state governments had reneged on agreements they had with the doctors in the past.
It stated that four states, namely Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe, owed doctors in their workforce ten, five, three, and two months respectively, in salaries and other arrears.
The association also noted that the Abia State government had made little progress towards implementing the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA 2007), and payment of 26 months’ salary areas owed resident doctors at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH).
The NARD noted with grave concern, the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the MRTA 2007.
It stated in the communique, “The NEC observed with dismay the unnecessary delay in the implementation and payment of the new hazard allowance for over seven months since its approval on 22nd December 2021 in a circular with reference No. SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406. Also, it noted the delay in the payment of the 2020 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) to our members, who were omitted despite several efforts by the association.
“The NEC observed that the skipping arrears covering 2014, 2015 and 2016 have remained unpaid despite several negotiations with the federal government over the matter.
“The NEC noted that several years after the implementation of a new minimum wage in 2019, some of our members are yet to benefit from the consequential adjustment of minimum wage.
“The NEC observed the need for the review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and other related allowances due to the current economic situation in the country, which had led to super-inflation and devaluation of the currency, causing untoward hardship on our members.”
The NARD condemned attacks on its members by the public and, as well, on other health professionals in their workplace.
However, the association lauded Lagos, Benue and Nasarawa states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA) for doing better than others in meeting their agreements with the doctors.
The ICIR reports how the doctors’ strike had paralyzed many public hospitals for some weeks last year following a face-off between NARD and the Federal government.