As resident doctors resume work after a two-month-long strike, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has promised to tackle unresolved issues arising from the action in some states.
The resident doctors, under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), had on August 2, commenced the industrial strike over what they described as poor treatment by both the federal and some state governments.
They demanded, among others, payment of COVID-19 treatment allowances in the absence of death-in-service insurance, having lost over a dozen of its members to the pandemic, even as they also protested the shortage of manpower in public hospitals.
After series of meeting with the federal government, the resident doctors announced the suspension of the industrial action, while urging the government to fulfill its own part of the agreement that led to the suspension of the action.
At the NGF’s teleconference meeting on Thursday, the governors noted that there were unresolved issues in some states.
This was made known in a communique issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the Chairman of the Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
The states include Abia, Imo, Ondo, Kaduna and Ekiti.
The “issues” were, however, not disclosed.
The Forum advised that state governors appoint either the deputy governor or another high-ranking official such as the Commissioner of Health to take up the discussion with the Association at the State level.
The Forum also resolved to make a collective pledge to support research in priority medical fields in the country, and called on all state governments to individually advance support for this initiative at the state level.
The resolution was sequel to a presentation by Babatunde Fashola, who is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research Foundation.
The presentation was based on a national fundraising initiative that seeks to mobilise resources for the establishment of an endowment for medical research in the country.
The Country Coordinator for PEPFAR in Nigeria, Mark Giambrone, also briefed the governors on the status of state engagement that is paving the way towards HIV epidemic control in the country.
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“With the country on the verge of reaching control status by the end of 2022, governors pledged to continue to facilitate access to HIV testing and treatment for more Nigerians and committed to supporting campaigns and initiatives that will reduce stigmatisation among people living with HIV/AIDS,” the statement said.
There was a separate presentation from the representative of the Nigeria-Arabian Gulf Chamber of Commerce on a memorandum signed with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to attract foreign direct investment into the country via the ongoing Dubai Expo 2020.
After that, the Forum consented to the representation of state governments and the presentation of a set of bankable projects selected from 12 participating states; two per geopolitical zone in the country, in areas such as energy, technology, fintech, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture.