Resident doctors kick over 5 year compulsory service proposal
By Jennifer S. Kuwanta
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), has opposed the compulsory five-year service licensing of doctors proposed by the House of Representatives.
The group made its stand known in a communique it issued at the end of its emergency extended National Officers’ Committee (NOC) meeting.
This is contained in a communique jointly signed by the President, Dr Innocent Orji, Secretary-General, Dr Kelechi Chikezie and the Publicity and Social Secretary, Dr Musa Umar, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Newsmen reports that the title of the amendment bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Ganiyu Johnson, reads, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“It is to mandate any Nigeria-trained Medical or Dental Practitioner to Practise in Nigeria for a Minimum of Five years before being granted a full licence by the Council in order to make Quality Health Services available to Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB.2130).”
The bill was passed for second reading on April 6.
According to NARD, the bill is a definition of modern day slavery.
“The extended NOC admonishes the House of Representatives that the obnoxious bill as sponsored by Rep. Ganiyu Johnson is a clear definition of modern-day slavery and not in keeping with anything civil and so should be thrown away at this point.
“The house however, agreed with him on the palpable dangers of the current menace of brain drain in the health sector and promises to work with the government to reverse the trend when the government is ready to come up with genuine solutions to the problem.
“The extended NOC reiterates that any attempt by the government or any of her agencies to enslave Nigerian medical doctors under any guise would be strongly and vehemently resisted by the association.”
The association also called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the processing and payment of the reviewed Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) for the year 2023 as these funds were meant to offset debts associated with update courses.
The funds are also meant for the examinations of both the National and West African Postgraduate Colleges, which have since kicked off for the year.
“The extended NOC urges the Federal Government to keep to agreements reached by the stakeholders constituted by the Federal Ministry of Health on the implementation of the 2023 MRTF and to expedite action on its payment immediately.
“Any attempts to do otherwise would only throw the health sector into another series of undesired crises.”
They also called for immediate action by the Federal Government with regards to the upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) which has not been done for over ten years now, and to ensure implementation of same before May 29.
NARD, however, appreciated the Federal Government for the near completion of the payment of 2020 MRTF and the reviewed hazard allowance arrears.
It encouraged the Federal Government to ensure that the few persons yet to be paid are settled immediately.