Hopes of a quick end to the ongoing industrial action by resident doctors nationwide dimmed yesterday after health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu lamented that the strike was "unacceptable."
This came after the labour ministry, which convened a meeting last Friday to arbitrate between National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the health ministry, had earlier expressed hopes that both sides had agreed to "consider" a suspension of the strike, already going to a week.
Fielding questions in Abuja at a retreat for tertiary health institutions, the minister said NARD's industrial action was "uncalled for because the issues at stake are issues we are already handling after we met the Nigerian Medical Association."
Among the issues Nigeria Medical Association raised are disruptions in pay for House officers on account of federal hospitals using a centralised Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
Concern over IPPIS has since been tabled before a committee chaired by the Head of Service, at which both NARD and NMA are represented.
Despite ongoing talks, at least seven tertiary hospitals using IPPIS still owe their House officers and resident doctors since August it was revealed at the retreat.
Chukwu ruled out political motivation as basis for the strike but said resident doctors could have exercised patience since they took part in ongoing meetings.
"We understand some of the issues have not been resolved but I think we can do well to exercise some patience and not go on strike, because, when we go on strike, people do die," he said.