Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has expressed optimism that the striking workers under the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) across the country would soon resume duty.
The doctors had embarked on a nationwide strike on September 4, crippling all health services at secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities across the nation.
The leadership of the NARD is expected to meet later today, Tuesday, to appraise the response of the federal government to their demands.
The government and the leadership of NARD had met on September 6 and agreed to pay the arrears of the salaries latest September 8.
Adewole further said the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the government and the leadership of NARD, agreed that the doctors would resume once the salaries have been paid.
Adewole said the federal government “has done what the resident doctors under the federal government asked for” and ‘this was to pay all outstanding salary arrears of the resident doctors to the bank accounts of institutions affected.’
“We have done that and we believe they should resume soon. We can only pay the money into the institutions’ accounts for them to disburse to the doctors; we cannot pay them individually as that would take a longer time.
“The only problem which shouldn’t be a problem is that we have told them we cannot solve that of resident doctors in the state. They have decided to put states’ resident doctors as part of their struggle and we cannot impose on state government to do same. We can only plead on their behalf with the states,” he said.
However, a member of the National Executive Council of NARD, Arikawe Adeolu said the meeting would allow the leadership to appraise events since its meeting with government.
Adeolu, who is also the General Secretary of NARD, Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Jabi, Abuja, said the outcome of the appraisal would determine whether the nationwide indefinite strike would be called off or not.
He said the appraisal was necessary as more than 90 per cent of members were yet to receive their arrears as at 3 p.m. on Monday.
He expressed optimism that the arrears would be paid as the federal government claims it had disbursed the arrears to the hospitals accordingly.
“We were supposed to hold a meeting on September 8 but it didn’t hold because the essence of the meeting was defeated.”