Also according to the government, the embargo placed on appointment of new doctors into public hospitals across the country and the suspension of the Residency Training Programme in the health sector was done in the overall interest of all Nigerians.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, stated this in his office on Wednesday during a meeting with the members of the Presidential Committee of experts on inter-professional relationship in the public health sector and top policy makers of the federal government.
The committee which was led by a former SGF, Dr. Yayale Ahmed, was constituted by the federal government to fashion ways of fostering harmony in the sector to avoid perennial crisis.
Anyim explained that the federal government suspended fresh negotiations with the striking doctors and other unions in the sector pending the outcome of the committee.
He also said the suspension of the residency training programme and the embargo placed on employment of new doctors in federal government hospitals would remain in force pending the submission of the committee’s report.
He said, “Even as we try to discuss with members of the Nigerian Medical Association, and other unions in the sector, we would have difficulty to have much to do except to wait for the report of this committee.“Presently, Mr. President had directed that there should be no fresh intake of doctors into any public hospitals.
“He had, as well, directed that Residency Training Programme should be suspended. The idea is that, until we find a lasting solution to this sector, everything should be on hold. The expectations are squarely on your committee to provide the solution.
“We have insisted that we could not re-open negotiations with them when this committee is yet at work. I do recalled that one of the concerns they shared was that they did not know when the committee’s work would end.
“For them, they thought it was a ploy on the part of the government simply to drag its feet, on their demands. With your visit today, it is clear , it is evident, it is in fact right on the table, that your committee is at work, it is marching step by step with due diligence to arriving at a lasting solution to all the challenges in the sector. He said the challenges that the government is facing from the health sector was so monumental that “President Jonathan thought it wise to seek your (Ahmed) leadership of a committee that we believe we can entrust to resolve the challenges.”
He noted that the mandate of the committee, its terms of reference, the importance of the work, and indeed, the difficulties of the job, were quite appreciated.