Nigeria: Govt to Doctors - Go Back to Work, We Have Paid You

The federal government has urged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to call off its strike, saying government had substantially met its demands with some of the doctors receiving payment.

According to the federal government, the association has lost all moral and legal grounds to continue its seven-day-old industrial action.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja yesterday, minister of labour and employment Senator Chris Ngige said the federal government has not only substantially met the seven-point demand by NARD, it has also demonstrated transparency in their implementation.

"The House officers have started receiving their payments in the federal government Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres across the federation. I spoke with the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) as well as with two chief medical directors (CMDs) of teaching hospitals this morning and they confirmed payment to House officers.

"By the close of work today (Wednesday) all would have been paid as the officers at the office of the AGF worked even during the public holidays to this effect," Ngige said.

According to the minister, even though some of the House officers were recruited outside the quota allocated by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and some were recruited between January and March when there was an embargo on selective recruitment by Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres, amnesty was granted to them all and they to be paid in line with the Memorandum of Action (MoA).

Ngige said: "We have also abolished benching in training as well as stopped the deduction of N15,000 per month from the salaries of House doctors for accommodation. We directed the refund of the deductions and the entire money is now paid to the House Doctors to negotiate with the local authorities and sort out individual accommodation.

"The MDCN has also opened her online portal for the recruitment of House officers effective April 1, 2021 in the spirit of the MoA. It has also started recruiting and posting House doctors almost immediately, even within the public holidays. All these are items time-lined in the MoA for execution within three to four weeks and that is why we agreed to meet in four weeks to access implementation."

COVID-19: Ignore Conspiracy Theories, Take The Vaccines - Health Workers

The president, Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), Josiah Biobelemoye, has appealed to health workers across the country to dispel various conspiracy theories against the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and come out en masse to get the much needed protection against coronavirus, by getting vaccinated.

Biobelemoye, who doubles as the president, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), made the appeal yesterday in Abuja while receiving his first jab of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

He appealed to health workers to consider their safety first before any existing acrimony or the various conspiracy theories, even as he assured that the vaccine was safe.

He said: "I have just taken my jab of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and I feel good. I have come to take this to tell all health workers, especially members of JOHESU, that it is not harmful to anybody.

"We are health workers, we are science based and we have been interacting with our counterparts elsewhere in the world. I want to appeal to all Nigerians that if this is having any negativity, certainly, nearly one million Americans will not be lining out to take this.

"Initially the fear was the vaccine was made specifically to depopulate Africa and all the conspiracy theories but we are witnesses to the fact that the Europeans have used themselves as the guinea pig, so what's the reason for fear?

"We should come out and take the first and second jabs so we can be 100 percent clear. We have millions of health workers across all levels - federal, state and primary level - and they all need to be protected so they can go out and attend to the Nigerian population," he said.

Officials of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) were on ground to supervise the seamless vaccination process of the leadership of health workers in the country.

COVID-19 Vaccination: NAPHARM, NGE Set To Tackle Conspiracy Theories

Amid controversy trailing COVID-19 pandemic vaccination, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) have concluded plans to hold a six-day media week to avail the people with right information about the deadly virus and how to contain its further spread.

There have been insinuations that the vaccines are unsafe and contain computer chips meant to advance the cause of evil manipulations.

But to enlighten the people about the ongoing vaccination process, the director of programmes, NAPHARM, Dr. Lolu Ojo, at a media conference organised by the academy and NGE in Lagos, said the good news of the arrival of the vaccines was short-lived as issues of safety, supplies, handling logistics, etc, came up to overshadow the excitement.

Ojo said though about 800,000 people had received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Nigeria, the process may be impaired by supply.

He said, "There are also the conspiracy theories and the myths woven around the pandemic, vaccination and the virus itself. Where do we go from here? How do we help our people to contain the spread of the disease and cope with the impact? How do we prevent them from falling victims of false or half-baked information that have been the order of the day?"

Ojo said the NAPHARM/NGE coalition had mapped out a six-day media week when all issues will be discussed in open sessions beginning from Monday April 12 2021 through the 17th, April, 2021.

The theme of the programme is "COVID-19: Facts and Myths and Way Forward."

The director of programmes said critical stakeholders and experts like the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director- general, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye; the executive director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaibu; the president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and other experts will be there to express their thoughts and opinions and answer questions from the press and Nigerians at large.

Corroborating the president, the vice president, NAPHARM, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, condemned health professionals who, through social media, are condemning the vaccines, saying they are dishonest people.

Also speaking, the president, NGE, Mustapha Isah said it is so sad that some clergymen are building conspiracy around the pandemic, while assuring that the media will address the conspiracy theories with the right information.

He said, "We want to work with credible information from experts and dish it out to our audience. COVID-19 is still very much with us. As media, we are supposed to report experts' opinions. With the six-day media programme, we will have experts to speak on the facts and myths of COVID-19, to enable us to pass accurate information to the masses."

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