The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has reiterated the need for government to upwardly review the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), as it was last reviewed over ten years ago.
NARD President, Dr. Orji Emeka Innocent, noted that the government has neither called the association to the negotiation table nor taken any tangible step in addressing the issue of salary, adding that poor salary has made medical doctors travel outside the country for greener pasture.
He explained that this is against the background of the dwindling economic situation in the country, the serial abysmal decline in the value of the naira, the imminent removal of fuel subsidy, and the consequent damaging effect on the cost of living in the country.
The president made this known at the association’s extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC), meeting held yesterday at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He, however, noted that there had been previous ultimatums issued to the government by NARD on the review of the CONMESS salary structure, despite the previous collective bargaining agreement that clearly stated that the salary structure would be due for review after five years, but this has not been done since the implementation in 2014, though the approval was given in 2009.
The obnoxious bill sponsored by Ganiyu Johnson of the Federal House of Representatives seeking to enslave young Nigerian doctors by restricting their fundamental human rights of freedom of choice and movement was condemned, noting that such would rather escalate the challenge of brain drain in the health sector than solve it.
He said: “NEC expressed disappointment at the delay in the payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), having observed that the first phase of the update courses and examinations in the year for which the fund was intended has been concluded and the second phase is already at hand.”
NARD Secretary General, Dr. Chikezie Kelechi, said that NEC demands immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals and complete abolishment of bureaucratic limitations to the immediate replacement of Doctors who leave the system.
NARD, Publicity, and Social Secretary Dr. Umar Musa said NEC demands immediate infrastructural development in the various hospitals without further delay, insisting on at least 15 per cent budgetary allocation to health subsequently.
He said: “ NEC demands immediate implementation and review of hazard allowance by all the state governments as well as private tertiary health institutions where any form of residency training is done.”