(By Temitope Obayendo)
The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) has decried the failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to articulate a comprehensive guideline for residency training in the country, despite numerous discussions with stakeholders.
The grievances of the group were contained in a nine-point communiqué, which was issued at the end of the extraordinary national executive council meeting of NARD, held at the auditorium of National Hospital, Abuja, recently.
The communiqué, which was jointly signed by the President of NARD, Dr. Jubril Abdullahi, acting secretary general, Dr. Udu Chijioke Udu, and publicity/social secretary, Dr. Ilokonuno Chinedu, noted that the failure of the Federal Government to produce a blueprint for residency training had led to “grossly inadequate funding of the training, failure of the recently re-introduced overseas clinical attachments for resident doctors, and incessant industrial disharmony in many training centres, as a result of unwarranted disengagements, withholding of entitlement and blatant victimisation of resident doctors.”
NARD also regretted the prolonged meeting it had with representatives of the Federal Government in which it was agreed that by the end of August 2013, every obstacle to the implementation of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) would have been resolved. This, according to the communiqué, was because rather than keep to the agreement, the Federal Government resorted to removing resident doctors from the platform of IPPIS in a worrisome manner.
Other issues highlighted by NARD in the statement include the continuous victimisation of its members at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, by the medical director; as well as the failure of Enugu State Government to implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) for its members at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu. “This has greatly hampered effective health service delivery and residency training,” the statement read.
Proffering solutions to the challenges cited, the National Executive Council of NARD called on the Federal Government to produce, as a matter of urgency, a blueprint on residency training in conjunction with the association and other stakeholders.
It also stated that all the anomalies in emoluments consequent upon the implementation of IPPIS must be sorted out, without further delay.
“Furthermore, all institutions already on the IPPIS platform must be retained and concerted efforts made to identify and correct factors impeding the successful implementation of IPPIS. In addition, no new health institution should be recruited until all irregularities are fully resolved. Thus the Federal Government must employ more constructive means of resolving the challenges involved,” the communiqué proffered.
NARD also directed that the Federal Government must immediately commence the process of removal from office, the medical director of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, to put an end to the perennial problems in the hospital.
Consequent upon the stated recommendations, NARD further directed all its members nationwide to proceed on an indefinite and total withdrawal of services from Tuesday, 1st October, 2013, until further instructions would be issued.