By Christiana Ekpa
As part of the demands by the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors(NARD) the House of Representatives on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to grant waver for the immediate engagement of locum doctors to avoid further casualties.
The Chairman House Committee on Health Services, Hon. Yusuf Sununu,
disclosed this at the Committee hearing with members of NARD, the Minister of Health and other government officials in Abuja.
The Chairman disclosed that, the casualisation of doctors was unacceptable, adding that it had been agreed that the issue would be resolved and payment of arrears would soon commenced
According to him, we must see government establishment as ours, so that it will not affect our service delivery to the citizenry.
Mr Emmanuel Meribole, the Perm Sec. Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), said that there was need to follow due process in any recruitment exercise.
He said that the waver to employ must passed through the Ministry of Health, adding that for a waver to be granted there must be a document to back it.
According to him, the process of employment is very clear, we must get a waver from the Head of Service of the Federation and we must ensure that it meet with the requisite need.
He added that such waver must be in line with the principle of federal character, stressing that “it does not take more than four weeks to get a waver for recruitment from our own office.”
Sen Olorunnibe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, noted that NARD should understand that the Federal Government was making sacrifice to ensure the impasse was brought to an end.
“Just an hour ago, I lost a friend to COVID-19, so the pandemic is real, just to alert those who think it is not real.
According to him, the ministry was aware that there were some outstanding arrears to be paid to NARD and the government would not hesitate to pay it.
Mr Ben Akabueze, Director General, Budget Office, said that at no time did the office criminalise locum, adding that what the office criminalise was the abuse of staff where six lawyers were engaged as locum staff.
He said,” there is none that has not received approval to recruit in the last one year, so if people are on locum, we need to situate that.”
He said that the Budget Office would not process approval for locum, adding that there was no reason a doctor should stay at locum for two years.
Dr Jaff Momoh, the Chief Medical Director, National Hospital Abuja, said it usually took a minimum of six months for appropriate authority to respond to when application was made for recruitments.
He stated that when it comes to emergency recruitment of medical doctors, the country was in deep trouble.
According to him, in the last COVID-19 pandemic, four out of nine consultants left for Arab country. We advertise their positions but we could not get, we had to bring retired hands.
Prof Ahmed Ahidjo, CMD, University Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, proposed emergency staff replacement policy and health work force requirement as the solution to the incessant strike.