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FG, resident doctors meet Friday over strike

The Federal Government will hold another meeting with the leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) over its strike that has entered the ninth day.

The government will hope to convince the doctors to put – off the strike, which has paralysed activities in government- owned hospitals.

Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment announced the meeting in a text on Thursday.

The meeting will hold at the conference room of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige by 3pm.

“The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige will be meeting with Executive of the National Association of Resident Doctors and Representatives of the Federal Government,” the message said.

The leadership of NARD has remained adamant despite the government paying arrears of medical doctors who are mostly House Officers.

But in a communiqué on Thursday, the NARD described the statement credited to Dr. Ngige as “spurious misinformation.”

Admitting that some house officers have been paid, it said many of them are yet to be paid.

Besides, it alleged the payment was marred by irregularities.

The association noted the strike became imperative when it noticed the Ministry of Health was not interested in any form of settlement to avert the strike.

It said the only positive result from the conciliatory meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment was abolition of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by NARD members on outside postings in all training institutions across the country.

“This”, it said, “is however not yet backed by a circular.”

The communiqué reads: “All other demands like the immediate payment of all salary arrears including march salaries for its members in all federal (GIFMIS platform) and state tertiary health institutions across the country, upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance, payment of death in service insurance for all health workers who died as a result of COVID-19 infection or other infectious diseases, among other demands are yet to be met.

“We want to use this medium to reiterate our commitment to the smooth running of all tertiary institutions in the country and the provision of specialist healthcare to Nigerians, but we need to first of all care for our own health and welfare in order to give standard care to our patients. This is in line with our physician oath.”

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