Medical consultants and corps members have been mobilized, according to Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire, to ensure that hospital services do not fail as a result of the ongoing strike by resident doctors.
On August 2, resident doctors across the country went on strike over unpaid salary and hazard allowances, among other issues.
In a press conference on Thursday, August 12, Ehanire stated that doctors should not go on strike during a “vulnerable period” because barely one or two percent of Nigerians eligible for the Coronavirus vaccine have received it.
The Minister said;
“Although the resident doctors have gone on strike, and as I said before, we are appealing to them not to use this very vulnerable period when the country is facing a war.
“For those of you who have been very keenly following international news, you know the havoc that the Delta variant did in India, and what it has done and it is doing in Indonesia, Ireland, and other countries.
“We have only one or two percent of eligible Nigerians vaccinated. So we are really facing something like a war. When you face a war, that is not the time that soldiers say they are not going to fight.
“We don’t want to see here, what happened in India where they also lost 400,000 lives due to COVID-19 Delta strain, we don’t want that.
“But even then, during this strike, we have mobilized all consultants and youth corpers and all those who render services to ensure they are rendering service, to ensure that the hospital services do not collapse and everybody is doing very well.
“I salute the consultants and youths corpers and all those who are not on strike, who are giving service and also the private sector who are supporting us. The private sector is rising up to the challenge to make sure that health services, one way or the order, are going on and there is not serious distress in the hospitals.”
Ehanire further claimed that the “no work, no pay” edict issued in the aftermath of the strike was not intended to scare doctors, but rather was standard practice around the world.
“Nobody is threatening anybody with anything. That is a standard thing, that is the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recommendation that if you didn’t work why will you get paid.
“Your salary comes from taxpayers money, so if you didn’t work why should you go and be saying you should be paid because if that is so, you can be encouraged to stay home for up to six months and your salary is running from public funds, from taxpayers money and you have not given the community any service.”