President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday appealed to the members of the National Association of Resident Doctors to abort their planned industrial action and give the Federal Government more time to address their grievances.
The Nigerian president reportedly gave the doctors an assurance that no agreements duly entered into by the Federal Government will be dishonoured by his administration.
According to a statement made by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President made the appeal at a meeting he had with the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The president also 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.
The statement added, “Decrying the adverse impact of the fall in oil prices on the Federal Government’s spending plans for health and other sectors, President Buhari said that his administration will continue to do its best to address issues that are of concern to doctors and other Nigerians.”
According to the statement, the President also gave the NMA delegation an insight into his administration’s plan to establish 10,000 primary healthcare centers 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 the NMA President, Dr. Kayode Obembe, that the National Health Act will soon be gazetted and a steering committee appointed to oversee its implementation.”
Obembe was quoted to have called for the implementation of the report of the Yayale Ahmed Committee on better relations among professional groups in the health sector.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole described the plan to establish more healthcare centers as “the single most ambitious health plan for the poor in the history of Nigeria”.