Resident Doctors of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri, in Imo state, Nigeria, came out en masse today to demonstrate, lamenting unpaid salaries and poor working conditions in the Centre and others alike. According to our source,a 21 day ultimatum that started at the end of a warning industrial strike action last year, elapses on the 10th of January and if demands are not met, an indefinite strike action might be the only way out.
For those who are extra curious, you can find some details from the minutes of a meeting held between the Head Medical Officer of Health(HMOH) and representatives of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
"If you won't allow any tenant/Doctor leave in your accommodation for free or didn't give free bags of rice and cans of groundnut oil to unpaid medical Doctors for the Yuletide celebrations,then watch how you criticise. Every Doctor is as human as you are and has the same need as everyone else out there".- words of a lamenting Medical Doctor.
"Update of meeting between the HMOH and NARD.
In attendance were the HMOH, HMOH for States, DHS and other top officers in the FMOH, CMD UNTH, NMA president and secretary, NARD president, secretary, VP 1, IPP, Northern and south east caucus leaders.
Prior to the meeting, there was a brief with the NMA president, secretary and unth CMD at the NMA house.
The meeting started FMOH by 4:25pm at the minister's conference room with an opening prayer said by Prof MIKE OGIRIMA.
This was followed by the HMOH's opening remarks on the demands by NARD and the need for the meeting.
The NMA president also made his remarks, reaffirmed NMA's total support to NARD's demands, commended both parties for attending the meeting, emphasized the need for timely dialogue which rightly solves all the problems and conveyed the displeasure of doctors with the FMOH and the HMOH.
The NARD present then made an extensive and passionate presentation on the NARD demands.
In his response, the HMOH pleaded that we should not escalate issues /run down the health system unless dialogue has failed.
The details of his response on the various items of our demands;
1) *Implementation of the NHA 2014*
The HMOH said that the FMOH is in full support of the implementation and had also set up committee on its actualization. That we should also acknowledge that the implementation is not solely dependent on the FMOH. He then enjoined other bodies including NMA to help in the fight for its actualization especially the basic health care provision fund which he commended NMA for the steps taken.
2) *White paper on residency training program*.
The HMOH acknowledged that the committee's report has been sent to him and has been forwarded to the technical management committee of FMOH. He promised that once the logistics are done, it will be released.
PJO at this point reiterated that any attempt at altering the content of the document or separating parts 1 and 2 of the programme will be vehemently opposed by NARD.
3) *FMC Owerri Dec 2015 salary*
The HMOH insisted that doctors in FMC Owerri were accomplice in the crisis. He went further to say that the doctors will be paid if they produce evidence that they worked. All appeal by PJO for him to reconsider his position on the Owerri issue in view of the fact that it was a case of lock out and by section 43b of trade dispute act ought to have been paid, also putting into consideration the fact that the same doctors have been working since October without salary in FMC Owerri and currently shown support to the same CMD while JOHESU demonstrsted and went on strike to oppose her return. However, the HMOH still insisted that doctors in FMC Owerri will not be paid.
In his closing remarks, the HMOH asked that we step down on the black ward coats, media war, suspend our ultimatum and give the ministry a little time to act. In response, the NARD president informed the HMOH that he would take back the outcome of the meeting to the house for consideration but appealed to the HMOH to ensure palpable progress in his committment before the Jan NEC meeting of NARD slated 12th - 16th Jan 2016 in Abuja.
Dr Aneke Emmanuel
Sec Gen NARDretary and unth CMD at the NMA house."
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Dr Oghenekevwe Ogidigben