The federal government has directed chief medical directors of health institutions across the country to open attendance registers for resident doctors.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, gave the order after a meeting with members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) ended in a deadlock on Tuesday.
Ehanire asked medical directors to open the attendance register on Wednesday by 7am and record those who are on duty and the ones who did not comply.
He said those who did not comply will be assumed to have left the service.
The resident doctors embarked on a nationwide strike on Monday after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum it issued to the federal government.
The doctors are demanding payment of hazard allowance, group life insurance, payment of minimum wage and provision of adequate personal protective equipment for all health workers.
“One day, you will be sitting where we are sitting; you will be going through the same thing we are going through; it is a circle of life,” the minister said.
“In other countries, we have seen retired doctors and workers come out of retirement. Nigeria is the first country in the world where health workers went on strike during a pandemic.
“We at the ministry of health are ready to protect the lives of Nigerians, we are not going to allow our hospitals to fallow.
“The government has an obligation to support and keep the health every Nigerians.
“The resident doctors have told us that they are not returning to work very soon until certain conditions are met and they cannot keep extending the goal post any time they like.
“Those who report to work will be taken as those who are still in service and the register will be closed at 12 noon and by then we will know who want to still be in service.”
Aliyu Sokomba, NARD president, said the resident doctors will only end the strike within 24 hours when the federal government proposes a tangible deal on meeting the union’s demands.
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