The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olurunnimbe Mamora, has pleaded with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to come back to the negotiation table to handle the significant issues being experienced.
The appeal was made during the opening ceremony of the 2021 Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), FCT chapter, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Recall that NARD had on Aug. 2 began a nationwide indefinite strike which sent home their request to implement the Memorandum of Understanding it entered into with the Federal Government in March 2021 on welfare and other issues that affect its members.
According to Mamora, we are discussing with NARD and negotiating ways to address the issues the association has raised that would give industrial peace and enable citizens to access healthcare.
He said, “I encourage you to ensure industrial peace in the health sector so that citizens can reap maximum benefits from your efforts.
“In saying this, there cannot be a better time and opportunity for me to appeal to doctors who are currently on strike.
“My appeal is that they return to the negotiating table so that whatever outstanding issues can be sorted out. That is my passionate appeal to all our colleagues.
“Even in times of war, the combatants at the end of the day come to the roundtable for an amicable resolution of issues. That is my appeal to our colleagues all over the country who are currently engaged in the strike for the benefit of our people.”
The minister further restated the Federal Government’s agreement to address emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, including expanding healthcare coverage in the country.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari is taking all necessary steps to strengthen Nigeria’s preparedness and response to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases through the provision of medical infrastructure.
“One of these efforts is making medical oxygen available in tertiary institutions.
“Furthermore, medical practice in Nigeria needs to align with the new usual way of life. Telemedicine allows long-distance patients and physicians to interact and obtain care, advice, monitoring, education, and remote admission.
“The Federal Ministry of Health is currently developing telemedicine and intends to maximise its use to expand healthcare coverage.”
Mamora added that primary healthcare facilities are closest to communities but have become the weakest link in the healthcare delivery system due to their ineffectiveness to provide the needed services.
He said, “government is, therefore, making efforts toward changing this undesirable narrative. The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, in collaboration with stakeholders, has developed simple messages to aid infectious disease detection.
“This will be done at the community level, and the primary healthcare workers have been trained on clinical case detection. This capacity building is an ongoing and continuous process.
“We as a country cannot afford to be complacent because the cost of complacency in infectious disease control can be enormous.”