Members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have resolved to address the concerns raised by resident doctors, who recently suspended their nationwide strike after the NGF’s intervention. The NGF promised to work with the Federal Ministry of Health and state Ministries of Health to ensure effective resolution of the grievances.
The governors, in a communique issued after the NGF’s 11th COVID-19 teleconference meeting held on Wednesday, resolved to ” review the concerns of the resident doctors and interface with the federal and state Ministries of Health to address the concerns of resident doctors in the country, by settling backlog of salaries where such exist, re-integrating residency training in state hospitals where they have been suspended, providing protective equipment and ensuring sustainable pathways to uphold the welfare of doctors in an effective and efficient manner.”
They also resolved to engage with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to take on the new State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) additional financing as grants to states.
This, they said, was informed by the momentum on fiscal accountability and sustainability generated by the current SFTAS programme and the need for sustained funding for state governments in the wake of the fiscal pressure that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who is the Chairman of the NGF State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Sub-Committee interfacing with the World Bank, on its task of facilitating the provision of additional financing for states to support governments’ response to the COVID-19 crisis.
It said the World Bank Task Team leader for the SFTAS program, Yue Man Lee, also provided an update on the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment and preparatory arrangements for the US$750 additional financing.
Part of the communique reads: “The Honourable Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, who presented a newly developed 3-year Health Sector COVID-19 Response Action Plan which is aimed at repositioning the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over a medium-term outlook.
“The Minister also assured State governments of the availability of about a million Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers in the various facilities throughout the country.
The Honourable Minister of Health, supported by the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Mohammed Sambo and the Executive Director/CEO of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr Faisal Shuaib also provided clarifications on observations raised by the states on the new guidelines on the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and the need to fast track its release in the light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, when increased health response is required and when State governments are experiencing financial strains that threaten their ability to meet counterpart obligations.
“The President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Sokomba Aliyu also made a presentation conveying the concerns of resident doctors including, among others, the non-implementation of residency training in most States of the federation, non-payment of salaries and the use of inappropriate salary structures in some states.
“Dr. Sokomba Aliyu also told Governors about a particular state where a 25% salary cut across board also affected resident doctors most of whom continued to work, arguing that there was no basis for slashing the salaries of his members who instead of staying at home are encountering even added challenges at work.”
By Eric Ikhilae,