Nigeria’s minister of health, Osagie Ehanire has implored the residents doctors to end the ongoing strike action.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had on August 1,embarked on strike amid “irregular payment of salaries”, inclusive of other issues.
Several attempts of stakeholders, including the house of representatives, to intercede between the federal government and the resident doctors did proved abortive.
During the briefing of the presidential committee on COVID-19 on Monday, the health minister said doctors should return to work as all debts would be settled.
“Last week his excellency, the president received the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association in audience and in his remarks called on doctors on strike to return to duty and for those contemplating it to opt for peaceful resolution, so as not to put the lives of citizens at risk,” he said.
“He reminded us that his administration has a sound track record of paying debts, even such debts as inherited from, or ignored by preceeding administration. Resident doctors are therefore assured from the highest authority in the land that all debts will be settled, when they are verified and validated.
“With this, I call on striking doctors to put an end to their industrial action immediately and return to work. Nigeria has been lucky with the relatively low impact of COVID-19 so far, and we need to keep our preparedness optimal. We cannot afford to stretch our luck too far.”
Ehanire also said that the third wave of COVID-19 appears to be levelling out, seeing as there’s been no catastrophic increases in infections and casualties.
Nonetheless, the minister, mentioned that it is not reasonable to presume that the threat is gone.
“Evidence so far, however, is that the Delta strain is already the dominant in Nigeria. We must keep our protective measures in place and increase testing to determine our situation,” he said.