Striking resident doctors have reached an agreement with the federal government and may call off their strike today.
The details of the agreement were contained in a communique jointly signed by the leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and a government delegation after a late Friday meeting.
The doctors strike entered the ninth day on Saturday, crippling activities in public tertiary hospitals across the country and leaving patients and their relatives stranded.
A federal government delegation on Friday met with officials of NARD at the ministry of labour in Abuja in a bid to resolve dispute.
The doctors commenced an indefinite strike on April 1 after a meeting with the government delegation on March 31 ended in a deadlock.
The minister of labour, Chris Ngige, had threatened the doctors with the ‘no work, no pay’ rule during an interview on Channels Television penultimate Friday, a day after the strike commenced.
Unperturbed, the doctors continued with their strike, leaving only few doctors to attend to emergency situations.
Resident doctors, who are undergoing training to become consultants, make up a large percentage of doctors in Nigeria’s tertiary hospitals.
Thursday’s meeting between the government and the doctors lasted till midnight as both sides tried to resolve various pending issues that triggered the mass action.
They include: non-payment of House Officers, non-recruitment of House Officers, abolishment of the bench fees, and non-payment of National Minimum Wage consequential adjustment arrears.
Other issues discussed at the meeting were residency training allowance; hazard allowance and payment of Resident Doctors on GIFMIS platform.
At the end of the meeting, a communique jointly signed by the NARD leadership including Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, the president, and Phillips Ekpe, the general secretary, was issued.
The government delegation also signed the communique. The signatories from the government team include Ngozi Onwudiwe, Director, Hospital Services at the health ministry; T. A. B. Sanusi, the registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN); J. A Momoh, Chairman, committee of medical directors among others.
Dated April 9, the communique detailed new commitments on the pending demands of the doctors.
The communique shows that the government acceded to many of the demands of the doctors including the payment of salary arrears and the abolition of the bench fees.