The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, says there are enough doctors in the country, and the federal government is working to replace every doctor who resigns and leaves the country.

Ehanire made the claim Tuesday in Abuja during a media conference.

He also said there was no embargo on the employment of doctors and other health personnel in the country.

“There is no embargo on hiring doctors; where necessary, we do that. But because there is a Civil Service Scheme, there are processes before doctors are hired.

“We have heard complaints from doctors who are now leaving the system, but there are actually enough doctors in the system because we produce up to 2,000 or 3,000 doctors in the country every year, and the number that is leaving is less than 1,000.

“It’s just that the labor process needs to be relaxed,” he said.

The minister explained that the ministry is working with the Cabinet of the Chief of the Civil Service to use the ‘One-for-One’ employment strategy so that if one doctor or nurse resigns to go abroad, another is hired.

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“So if we have one replacement, you probably won’t be short.

“But that worked out because the head of service had the experience that in the past when one person goes they take the opportunity to take three and those others may not even be people needed.

“We want to use this policy so that we can reduce shortages and have our staff back in our hospitals,” he said.

dr. Deborah Bitrus-Oghoghorie of the Department of Hospital Services said the issue of the two-week ultimatum issued by the National Association of Resident Doctors to the federal government to meet the association’s requirements or risk being a trade union action is being investigated.

According to her, it is mainly financial issues that the ministry could not solve alone.

“The problem we have with the family doctors is mainly financial problems and therefore we as the Ministry of Health cannot handle it alone.

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“So what we are doing now is to resolve the issue with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the National Commission on Salaries, Income and Wages (NSIWC).

“We want to assure you that the Ministry of Health, especially the hospital services department, is working very hard to ensure that industrial action is prevented,” she added.

Nigeria News Agency reports that on August 20, the local doctors had given the federal government another two weeks’ notice to make the payment of the new risk fee and the arrears as determined on December 22, 2021.

The two weeks, which started on Monday, will end on September 4.

The said hazard surcharge is included in the circular issued by the NSIWC dated December 22, 2021, with reference number SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406.

Some of the other demands of the association are the urgent implementation and commencement of payment of the full 2022 medical resident training funds to its members using the old template.

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Also that the shortcomings are calculated using the newly revised template and incorporated into the 2023 budget and paid in arrears.

NAN

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