The meeting between the Ministry of Health and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) ended without any hope of ending the doctors’ strike.
NARD President Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi told The Nation that the government was not serious about addressing the association’s demands.
He said: “The meeting was very short. They felt we did not keep to the time – that we came at 12 noon. We had to remind the Director of Hospital Services at the Ministry that the estimated time was 12 noon and we came in a few minutes before 12.
“She told us that they have some marching orders from the Minister, House of Representatives and the Senate on how to make things work, that they are only to hear from us. So I kept quiet and allowed my Secretary to speak with her, she said thank you and we said thank you, and she said they have another meeting by 1 pm. That was how we left.
“Nothing happened. The meeting was just a joke. She was telling me that if it was not for anything she would not have allowed me to enter her office. I also told her that there was nothing I would want to come to do in her office if not for the meeting. I believe when people start taking things personally like you have a personal interest, then it becomes quite strange.”
He further explained that in previous meetings, the government stated that those on the GIFMIS platform would not be included in the IPPIS platform until they were verified.
“But in all, we move on and continue with the struggle. We are always open to ways to make our health sector better because it is a stakeholder thing and not a personal fight.
“We had a meeting with the National Assembly two days ago and yesterday. They told us they were speaking with some people. I know they met with some Ministers and also with some Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) today. We do not have any other engagement for now.
“The government said the affected doctors have to ask for a waiver before they are reconsidered to be captured at IPPIS. All these take time before they are paid. So how do I go to my members and tell them they have to be verified again?
“Concerning the circular from the Head of Service, we asked that they withdraw it. But they told us that they cannot withdraw it; that they have to go to the Council of Establishment. These are the two major concerns.
“How do I tell my members that those on GIFMIS will still not be paid? That is my dilemma. Also, going to the Council of Establishment and sorting it out may take some time. Yet they want us to call off the strike.
“If the government can pay the doctors their money, then I will have the chance to talk to them and appeal to them,” Okhuaihesuyi added.