Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, has urged resident doctors in the country to remember the oath they swore to as medical workers and call off their strike.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had on August 2, commenced an indefinite strike over unpaid salary arrears and owed allowances.
Efforts by the federal government and national assembly to address the doctors’ grievances have proved abortive.
Speaking on Thursday at the quarterly meeting of the Nigeria health commissioners forum in Abuja, Mamora advised the doctors to reconsider their stand, considering the effects it will have on the health sector.
“This is a period where almost the whole world is on its knees. Therefore, it is not a time to start straining the health system. Even in a war situation you still come back to a roundtable”, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted him as saying.
“So, my approach from day one is to say ‘let us dialogue over these things’. Secondly, you need to know the system in which we operate. The way the civil service generally is structured is that you do not have a quick fix.
“There are processes and procedures that you need to go through to get things done. There is, therefore, a need for dialogue and patience in the overall interest of the oath that we all took as doctors on graduation, which is primarily that your patient shall be your first concern”.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Building a Stronger Health Sector in Nigeria through Collaboration and Strategic Partnership’, Mamora advocated better funding for the health sector.
“Whether you are talking of health infrastructure, equipment in the hospitals, and human resources for health, the underlying factor is funding,” the minister said.
“Even if you have enough human resources in the health sector, you need to take care of emoluments, incentives, therefore, you need funding. That is why we need to find ways of increasing the funding for the health sector.
“We need to begin to tax commodities like alcohol, cigarettes, which cause a lot of damage to the human body; the whole thing will end in the health sector, therefore, increasing the spending in the sector.
”That is why we are saying that if people take these things, let us find a way to put some tax on it, so that we can get some money to fund the health sector, in addition to the existing funding structures.”