President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to shelve its threatened strike action and give the Federal Government more time to address the grievances of doctors.
This is contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, Buhari made the appeal at a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The president assured the doctors that no agreements duly entered into by the Federal Government would be dishonoured by his administration.
He, therefore, called for greater understanding and support from doctors and all Nigerians in view of the present short fall in national revenue, brought about by the decline of crude oil prices.
Buhari said that his administration would continue to do its best to address issues that were of concern to doctors and other Nigerians.
He said the government plans to establish 10,000 primary healthcare centres across the country in the next two years, with the objective of providing better healthcare for about 100 million Nigerians.
He also told the delegation led by NMA President, Dr Kayode Obembe that the National Health Act would soon be gazetted and a steering committee appointed to oversee its implementation.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who participated in the meeting, described the plan to establish more healthcare centres as “the single most ambitious health plan for the poor in the history of Nigeria.’’
In his remarks at the meeting, Obembe called for the implementation of the report of the Yayale Ahmed Committee on better relations among professional groups in the health sector.
The NMA president also called for fast-tracking of the implementation of the National Health Act.
According to the statement, at a separate meeting with the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), President Buhari said his administration would ensure harmony in the health sector.
The president said he would evolve and implement measures to curb friction and disharmony among the professional groups in the health sector.
The president urged the PSN to work more closely with the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to curb the sale of fake drugs in the country.
The President of the PSN, Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai assured President Buhari that pharmacists in Nigeria were ready to work in harmony with other professionals in the health sector.