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Abbas meets with resident doctors amid looming strike

BY Samuel Akpan

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Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house of representatives, is currently meeting with members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

The meeting is taking place at the national assembly, Abuja.

Nnamdi Ndi-Ezuma, first vice-president of NARD; Okokon Udo, permanent secretary, ministry of finance special duties, are among those attending the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to address and find a solution to the imminent strike by resident doctors.

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In May, the doctors embarked on a five-day warning strike due to the federal government’s inability to meet the association’s demands.

Early in July, NARD issued a two-week ultimatum to the government for the implementation of all its demands.

Some of the demands include massive recruitment of clinical staff in hospitals, immediate infrastructural development in hospitals and an allocation of at least 15% of budgetary provisions to health.

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Others are immediate payment of the 2023 medical residency training fund (MRTF), and the immediate increment in the consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS) to the tune of 200% of the gross salary of doctors.

Speaking at the meeting, Abbas asked the doctors to take advantage of the talks and bare their minds on “the issues at stake and suggest realistic solutions to them”.

“We must approach these issues with an open mind and guided by the fact that revenues available to the government may not fully meet our demands,” he said.

“Therefore, we must find a middle ground that satisfies everyone without prejudice to the 2023 Memorandum of Understanding.”

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Abbas said all of the issues can be resolved without an industrial action, while pleading with the doctors to be patient.

“Given your faith in us, I would urge you to suspend the impending industrial action while we intervene,” he said.

“We equally seek your understanding of the fact that a new administration just came on board and still in the process of settling down as ministers are yet to assume office.”

The meeting dissolved into a closed door session afterwards.

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