The Minister of Health in Nigeria, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has directed that resident doctors at the federal level who were reported to be on strike should be fired and replaced with new applicants.
The decision was contained in a circular issued by the permanent secretart of Ministry of Health. The circular also was directed at Chief Medical Directors (CMDs), and medical directors (MDs) of federal government tertiary health institutions.
Nigerian govt orders sack of striking doctors https://t.co/6CWB4ZD2kR— Premium Times (@PremiumTimesng) June 21, 2016
You are hereby directed to replace all the Doctors that have withdrawn their services, with others from the pool of applicants for the training programs in the various disciplines.
It read in parts that since the trainee doctors had refused to report for work, flouting an existing public service rule, ‘‘you are hereby directed to replace all the Doctors that have withdrawn their services, with others from the pool of applicants for the training programs in the various disciplines in order not to create ominous gap in training with attendant disruption of health care delivery in your facility.’‘
The resident doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had embarked on a nationwide strike earlier this week.
Resident doctors also known as ‘trainee doctors,’ constitute a strong support force and backbone for medical practice in the Nigeria’s public health sector.
Negotiation by Speaker of House of Representatives
Meanwhile, local media reports that the decision to sack the trainee doctor en masse could not be necessary after all after Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of Nigeria’s second lawmaking chamber, the House of Representatives intervened.
The top legislator is believed to have arrived at a consensus with NARD to have their member go back to work as negotiations continue.
On his twitter handle, Hon. Dogara said he had appealed to both parties to show leadership and gravitate towards workable solutions to the existing challenge.
I appealed to both sides to show leaderhsip and arrive at workable solutions to the current challenge.— Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara (@SpeakerDogara) June 21, 2016
Former President Goodluck Jonathan sacked 16,000 resident doctors on August 14, 2014 for participating in a nationwide strike called by its national body.
The doctors were on strike for more than six months during the Ebola outbreak in the country. The doctors, however, were recalled two weeks after the directive.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and one that still has a long way to go with its public health system which is dogged by several challenges from funding to corruption and also infrastructure.