Government looks to fill the void left by striking doctors protesting Covid-19 negligence with youth corpers


NIGERIAN government officials have asked the chief medical directors and managing directors of federal tertiary hospitals to start making use of the services of youth corpers to fill the void created by the ongoing doctors strike.


On Monday this week, Nigeria's National Association of Residents Doctors (Nard) commenced a nationwide strike following the failure of the government to meet its Covid-19 demands including the payment of a special hazard allowance and the provision of life insurance. With the outbreak of the global pandemic, Nigerian medical practitioners raises serious concerns about the state of their security and asked the government to address these issues.


With the government failing to meet all their demands, Nard asked it members to down tools to the frustration of ministers. Labour minister Dr Chris Ngige, himself a medical doctor, said that the government had met six of their eight demands, so there was no justification for the strike.


However, with the strike going ahead, the government has asked the management in all the hospitals to immediately commence the use of consultants and doctors from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to provide routine services. Also, the government directed that locum staff should be brought in when and where necessary to forestall services’ disruption when applicable and affordable.


Health minister Dr Osagie Ehanire, said: “It is with deep concern that I view the ongoing strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors which commenced  on Tuesday September 7, 2020. We must remember that the primary duty of doctors and all health workers is to save lives, so embarking on a strike in this time that the country is battling with the Covid-19 pandemic is ill-timed and ill-advised.


"It is a critical time in which all well-meaning medical professionals should close ranks and confront the common enemy, which is the Covid-I9 pandemic threatening mankind. This is therefore one strike too many. Besides, most of the demands have been met and others, though, difficult, are at an advanced stage of implementation. A little patience would have made a big difference.


“Emergency services should continue to run as before. Routine services should be maintained with consultants and NYSC doctors, while locum staffers to be brought in when and where necessary to forestall services disruption when applicable and affordable. I call on the Nard to return to work and engage the federal government in completing the ongoing due process of implementing the MoU between them and the government."