Friday, January 13, 2017 7:41 pm
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, on Friday staged a peaceful protest calling for the implementation of the National Health Act.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that NARD had directed its members nationwide to carry out peaceful protests by wearing black ward coats and conducting rallies at the expiration of the initial ultimatum given to the Federal Government on Jan. 2.
NARD had on Dec. 19, given the federal government up to Jan. 2 to implement the NHA 2014, and address lingering issues beleaguering the health sector, especially as it affects resident doctors.
The NARD President of FMC-Lokoja, Dr Kennedy Obohwemu, said they were complying with the directive of the national secretariat.
“With due respect to constituted authority in the Federal Ministry of Health, our actions today have become necessary considering the protracted saga and unfathomable quagmire resident doctors across the country find themselves.
“Apart from the fact that we are following instructions from our national body, we believe it is time to take the bull by the horn and address these persistent problems once and for all.
“Let the whole world know what resident doctors are going through. Our patients deserve the best of healthcare delivery.
“We cannot do that when we the healthcare providers are not in the right frame of mind.
“The medical profession is going through the toughest of times in recent years. Our black jackets and black bands symbolise the death of our healthcare delivery system.
“We ask for a resurrection, a revamping of the system, such that the average Nigerian can confidently access quality healthcare at affordable rates,” he said.
Obohwemu lamented the pitiable state of Nigeria’s health system, urging the federal government to intervene and prevent massive exodus of doctors overseas for greener pastures.
“The same hospital one fails to equip today may be the closest hospital that could save one’s life tomorrow.
“NARD demands are not outrageous, but these issues have been neglected for far too long, thus placing the future of the medical profession in jeopardy.
“We need a uniform template for the residency training programme; structural framework must be clearly spelt out in a consistent unbiased manner, and applied universally.
“Since enactment in 2014, the National Health Act is yet to be implemented. We want the implementation of July 14th, 2016, agreement with government as soon as possible; that is our agitation.
“This legal document provides a framework for the regulation, development and management of a health system and sets standards for rendering health services in Nigeria.
“The Act ensures that patients are given the best of healthcare delivery with availability of health infrastructure, while ensuring that the rights of health care personnel are protected,” he said.
NAN also reports that the resident doctors carried placards of various inscriptions such as: “We condemn selective implementation of no-work no-pay rule’’ “Equity, fairness and justice’’.
“Migrate all doctors to IPPIS platforms’’, “Residents are pensionable, Pay outstanding arrears”, “Skipping is sacrosanct, we stand with NARD”, “FMOH/FG should implement 2014 National Health Act,” among others.