For about a week now, medical doctors under the aegis of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in many states have boycotted their consulting rooms to protest against what they called “government’s insensitivity” to their welfare.
Consequently, major healthcare services in most of the public tertiary health institutions, have either been partially suspended or paralyzed while skeletal services are only being rendered by Consultants with support from Locum doctors, house officers as well as those on National Youth Service Scheme.
But while negotiations are still on between NARD and federal government officials represented by Labour Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige and Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, a video of the Minister as a former President of NARD, who led a similar strike in 1984 during the military regime of then Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari has gone viral.
The video, a special report by a reporter of the defunct Television Services of Oyo State (TSOS), Prince Dokun Onibokun on the 1984 national strike by resident doctors when Adewole was the President; and was seen holding meeting with resident doctors at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
Adewole in the interview defended why the doctors were on strike and concluded that there was “no going back”.
It would be recalled that the declaration by the military junta of General Buhari that the strike was “illegal and an act of economic sabotage” led to the manhunt for the leadership of the NARD and Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). Many of the leaders fled into exile.
Reacting to the viral video on his twitter handle, Professor Adewole wrote:
“Aluta continua, Victoria e certain. As doctor and HM, (Health Minister), my struggle is about essential health services via PHC (Primary Health Centres), investment in tertiary centres.
“Today, we are on the same page with respect to the above but strikes are more labour centred; wages, promotions, issues beyond FMoHNigeria (Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria).
“Difference now is-my first responsibility is to protect Nigerians from feeling brunt of strikes, taking legitimate measures as we negotiate”