President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting took place a few days after the NMA gave the Federal Government a 15-day ultimatum to resolve its dispute with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
The resident doctors embarked on an indefinite strike on August 1 to protest the backlog of unpaid salaries and allowances among others.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; his Labour and Employment counterpart, Chris Ngige; and the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; were also at the meeting.
In his address at the meeting, the President asked the resident doctors to suspend the strike and return to work in the interest of Nigerians.
He said: “The lives of citizens that could be lost or damaged when doctors withdraw services, are precious enough to be worth opting for peaceful resolution of differences.”
President Buhari said the federal government had increased budgetary allocations to the health sector, adding that a Health Sector Reform Committee had been commissioned to identify and address weaknesses in the sector.
The President had earlier in the week appointed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lead the Health Sector Reform Committee.
Buhari added: “We have many more challenges ahead and much more to do, for our large population.
“In this respect, it is important to remind you that, as senior medical personnel and representatives of one of the most respected professional groups in the world, your responsibility for the health and wellbeing of Nigerians are clear.
“It does not end only with the welfare of your members, but continues with a sense of responsibility for the entire country and its sociopolitical health and national stability.”
He commended the NMA for his positive role in the development of the Nigerian health sector.
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