Striking resident doctors and the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government on the industrial action that began on Wednesday.
Operating on the platform of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), the striking doctors embarked on the five-day warning strike to press their demand for improved conditions of service.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr Olajide Oshundun, stated on Saturday in Abuja that the MoU was signed at the office of the minister, Mr Chris Ngige on Friday.
He stated also that the meeting of Friday directed officials of the NARD to present the outcome to members of the association in an emergency meeting to be held within 48 hours.
“This is with a view to suspending the strike,’’ he stated.
The striking doctors had said on Wednesday that the move was to call government’s attention to the need to end brain drain in the health sector and improve the welfare of members of NARD.
They are also demanding an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of current gross salaries of doctors.
NARD is also demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to serve compulsorily in Nigeria for five years before getting full licences to practise.
It also wants immediate domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act and a review of Hazard Allowance by state governments.
The striking doctors also want a review of the Consolidated Medical Salaries Structure which was last reviewed in 2009 and the payment of unpaid salary arrears for 2014 to 2016.
They also want a consequential adjustment of minimum wage arrears that is yet to be paid when the new minimum wage was implemented among other issues.
According to Oshundun, in the MoU reached on Friday, Ngige said parties agreed that health is in the Residual List and not on the Concurrent List of the Constitution.
Consequently, the Federal Government cannot compel state governments to effect payment of salaries and allowances in the health sector.
He stated that the NMA and NARD were advised to embrace more persuasion and social dialogue at the state level.
Ngige said the Federal Ministry of Health had taken the matter of perennial non-payment of salaries to Abia doctors to the National Council on Health.
He added that the council had asked the state government to pay the doctors who had been on strike for several months for robust health delivery to the people.
He argued that the Federal Government could also not compel state governments to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Act and pay the same salaries as paid by the Federal Government.
“The ministry advised NARD to reach out to states that are not paying and negotiate with them, even if the rates are lower than that of the Federal Government.
“The meeting also discussed the bill on bonding of doctors for five years before licensing, sponsored by Rep. Ganiyu Johnson (APC-Lagos State).
“It was agreed that the Executive arm of government could not interfere with it being a private member’s bill and not an Executive bill.
“The meeting resolved to await the public hearing on the bill, where the doctors will deal with it through the NMA to ensure it does not see the light of day,’’ Oshundun stated.
The meeting noted that the recommendations of the Federal Ministry of Health’s Brain Drain Committee on exited doctors had been forwarded to the Office of Head of Service of the Federation (OHSF) for further action.
Ngige said the OHSF was directed to engage all stakeholders on the matter by May 24 to ensure the approval of the implementation plan on or before June 5.
The plan, he added would be transmitted to teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres for implementation.
Ngige also said that the meeting agreed that fund for the payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund had been taken care of in the 2023 budget.
He added that payment would begin when the operation of the budget begins.
He noted that the budget office had requested for a comprehensive list of all resident doctors in federal tertiary health institutions from the Federal Ministry of Health.
He added that the Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria had sent the list through the Federal Ministry of Health for payment to begin as soon as funds are released.
The meeting resolved that that NARD should re-present the list of doctors omitted in the payment of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment to the ministry on May 22.
The list should have annexes of the old submission and same copied to the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment.
Top officials of Federal government agencies in the health sector and those in relevant agencies signed the MoU on the part of government.
President of NMA, Dr Uche Ojinmah and his counterpart at the NARD, Dr Emeka Orji signed on behalf of the doctors.
Nigeria records progress in HIV/AIDS response- Minister
The Federal Government says Nigeria has made huge progress in the HIV/AIDS response and is on the way to ending the disease by 2030.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Tunji Alausa, disclosed this on Thursday during a media conference to mark the 2023 World AIDS Day.
The theme of the 2023 commemoration is “Let Communities Lead”.
Alausa also unveiled some National HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) policy documents which are meant to strengthen the existing framework for action, in order to reduce the spread of the diseases and manage their impact.
The Documents are National Guidelines for Viral Hepatitis Treatment and Care – 2023, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) demand creation and scale-up-2023.
Others are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for PMTCT scale up, jingles in 10 languages for PMTCT scale-up – 2023 and IEC materials for HIV self-testing scale up – 2022
According to Alausa, the laudable progress in the response to the disease was made in the last two decades towards ending the epidemic by 2030.
“Nigeria with the current HIV treatment coverage above 90 per cent is well on course to meet this goal.
“Currently, Nigeria has 1.6 million People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) on treatment out of 1.9 million.”
He added that communities contribute to the HIV/AIDS response in numerous ways as their leadership and advocacy ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the centre and leaving no one behind.
“We cannot achieve lasting progress in our battle against HIV/AIDS without the active involvement of our communities.
“Our communities and community structures are not merely recipients of care; they are champions of change, the catalysts for progress, and the backbone of our collective resilience. “
He also said that tremendous efforts that have been made by successive governments and other stakeholders to control the HIV epidemic by averting new transmission and improving lives cannot be over emphasised.
Alausa said that in November 2020, Nigeria joined a multi-country learning network “the HIV Coverage, Quality, and Impact Network (CQUIN)” under the leadership of the National AIDS and STIs Control Program.
This was with the aim of learning and sharing knowledge to support the coordination and scale- up of Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) for HIV in Nigeria.
He added that other means of progress have been through the scaling up of numerous interventions and services.
While giving an update on the state of HIV epidemics in Nigeria, the National Coordinator National AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and STIs Control Programme (NASCP), Dr Adebobola Bashorun, said there has been steady declines in annual HIV infections and AIDS related deaths.
He however said that out of the 1.9 million PLHIV, 270,000 had not been identified and that as at 2022, 159,923 estimated children aged zero to 14 years were living with HIV in Nigeria; making it one of the countries with the highest paediatric HIV burden globally.
“Also, 20,364 HIV exposed infants (HEIs) had Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) samples collected within two months of delivery, which translates to only 21 per cent EID coverage and a MTCT rate of 14 per cent at six weeks and 23 per cent through breastfeeding.
“96,517estimated HIV positive pregnant women who needed PMTCT, only 34 per cent were enrolled on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) in 2022.
“However, 50,676 children living with HIV (CLHIV) were on treatment in 2022 which represents 32 per cent of the estimated CLHIVs.”
Bashorun noted that in spite of the current efforts towards paediatric case finding and linkage to HIV treatment, many children remain undiagnosed and thus without access to life saving ART.
He added that it was critical to identify these children and initiate ART as early as possible.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control (ATM), Hon. Amobi Ogah, said that its very important for Nigeria to recommit to reducing foreign support to at least 50 per cent.
“We are not unmindful that over 90 per cent of funding for HIV/AIDS activities through programs in our country come from foreign partners.
“I therefore call on the Federal Government to look inwards in supporting domestic funding because it is high time we decide our fate and not be dependent on foreign aid which does not do us any good.”
He, however, assured that the legislature would work towards the increase of budgetary allocation to the fight against HIV/AIDS within the face of limited resources.
“We will also provide the legislative framework to protect the rights of people living with HIV and other forms of discrimination and stigmatisation”, he added.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), Universal Health Coverage Cluster Lead, Dr Chavan Laxmikant, said that the gains recorded should be consolidated through the creation of enabling environments for community leadership, continued adoption of innovative approaches for HIV prevention, treatment and care.
“We call on the government of Nigeria and its partners to empower the communities to take up leadership by providing an enabling environment and addressing cross-cutting issues-punitive laws and policies, stigma and discrimination, gender inequality and violence that hinder the communities.”
The World AIDS Day is commemorated on Dec. 1 every year to raisee awareness about HIV/AIDS, show support to people living with HIV and remember those people who have lost their lives to the infection.
Nigeria records significant decline in HIV/AIDS transmission — FG
Dr Gambo Aliyu, the Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), says Nigeria has recorded significant decline in the number of persons infected with HIV/AIDS.
He disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja on Friday, ahead of the 2023 World AIDS Day (WAD).
The WAD is a global observance, annually celebrated on Dec. 1 around the world to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who died of the disease.
The day has “Communities: Leadership to End AIDS by 2030” as its theme for 2023.
The NACA boss, therefore, said “Nigeria like many other countries has made significant strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but there is still much to be done to achieve the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
“Nigeria has the second largest burden of HIV infection. Currently, a total of 1.8 million persons are estimated to be living with HIV in the country, out of which, about 1.63 million are already on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), a lifesaving medication.
“Approximately, 58 per cent are estimated to be females, and 42 per cent are males.
“The national average Mother-To-Child Transmission rate of 22 per cent is driven by a large number of states with transmission rates above 25 per cent and few states with rates below 15 per cent.
“Nigeria is responsible for about 30 per cent of the world’s gap in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT).”
He said that the declining figure was achieved with the support of partners and global communities to prevent new infections, increase HIV awareness and knowledge and support those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
He, however, stressed the need to address social and structural factors that drive the HIV epidemic.
“It is imperative that we confront these systemic inequalities head-on and work to ensure that all individuals have equal access to life-saving prevention, treatment and care services, as well as other social services available to Nigerians,” he said.
Dr Leo Zekeng, the Country Director of UNAIDS, who said that the UN body is committed
to continuous support to the Federal Government in eliminating HIV/AIDS, added that “we have made remarkable progress not only in Nigeria, but worldwide as about 30 million people are on treatment, which is remarkable.
“AIDS is no longer the deadly disease that it used to be, and those who are diagnosed with HIV but follow every rules and take the medication can live a normal life.”
On his part, Amobi Ogah, Chairman, House Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control (ARM), said the parliament was working toward increasing budgetary allocation to fight the disease in the country.
He said “we assure you that the National Assembly will work toward increasing budgetary allocation to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the face of limited resources.
“We will also provide the legislative framework to protect the rights of People Living with HIV and other forms of discrimination and stigmatisation.”
Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), said that the theme of the 2023 WAD recognises the need for communities to support programmes and initiatives toward achieving the 2030 target of ending AIDS.
Ibrahim, who was represented by Mr James Atusue, urged communities to tackle obstacles standing in the way of providing HIV services to those who required them most.
He said “as a network, we continue to mobilise our community in solidarity, helping those living with HIV, and those affected by HIV to deal with stigma and discrimination, and support them to know existing services from the social and economic perspective.”
Minister unveils policy on mental health, suicide prevention
Co-ordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate has unveiled the “National Mental Health Policy” and the “National Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework” in Abuja yesterday.
The Minister commended the team that worked on the policy documents noting that they had worked extensively and invested in it.
He further noted that the policy was a followup to the resolution at the #NCH64 to “Adopt and implement the National Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT.”
“Good mental health, including emotional, psychological, and social well-being of every Nigerian is an essential factor in the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr President,” he explained.
The Minister promised to implement the policies by promoting understanding of mental health conditions and increasing access to healthcare for those who need it.
Teenage apprentice arrested for allegedly stealing N958,000 from master
21-year-old man faces charges for stealing N13,200 worth of palm oil in Kano
Police on trail of man over homosexual practice
Teenage apprentice arraigned for allegedly stealing N958,000 from master
Police arrest 18 suspects for various crimes in Nasarawa
Cardi B, Offset unfollow each other
Portable walks runway at British Fashion Awards [VIDEO]
Transforming Nigeria’s oil and gas industry: Overcoming challenges by employing advanced technologies for improved production efficiency, security as a driver for economic growth
Nigeria to resume production of 275,000 bpd, as NNPC resolves PENGASSAN-TotalEnergies rift
Premium on display: LG showcases world first wheel TV, other products at Korea national day
Oil theft: FG lauds Navy for rising crude oil production
Construction of Ibadan internal roads to begin in weeks – Makinde
Digitising agriculture will boost farmers productivity, GDP – DG NITDA
News6 years ago
NLC, NUT shock El-Rufai with massive protest
Politics4 years ago
Implementation of N30,000 minimum wage depends on each State’s capacity -Governor’s Forum
Energy6 years ago
Cost reflective tariff, our challenge – Ikeja Electric
News8 years ago
Wema Bank awarded two ISO Certifications
News8 years ago
10 dead, 4 rescued as shipping mall collapse in Ogun
News6 years ago
2019: OBJ lobbies Tinubu, Kwankwaso, Duke in new party
News7 years ago
Relocation to Ghana: Nigeria to lose $12bn foreign airlines investments
News7 years ago
Ekweremadu visits Fani Kayode, Abati, others in EFCC cell