Olurunnimbe Mamora, the minister of state for health, has called on the striking resident doctors to return to the negotiating table with the federal government.
The minister made the appeal to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The doctors had embarked on an indefinite strike which started on August 2 to press home the implementation of the memorandum of understanding they entered into with the federal government in March 2021.
Mamora said discussing with the association and negotiating on ways to address the issues raised by the association would give opportunity for industrial peace and enable citizens to access healthcare.
He said: “I encourage you to ensure industrial peace in the health sector so that citizens can reap maximum benefits from your efforts.
“In saying this, there cannot be a better time and opportunity for me to appeal to doctors who are currently on strike.
“My appeal is that they return to the negotiating table so that whatever outstanding issues can be sorted out. That is my passionate appeal to all our colleagues.
“Even in times of war, the combatants at the end of the day come to the roundtable for amicable resolution of issues. That is my appeal to our colleagues all over the country who are currently engaged in the strike for the benefit of our people.”
Mamora reiterated the federal government’s commitment to addressing infectious diseases, including efforts to expand healthcare coverage in the country.
He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is taking all necessary steps to strengthen Nigeria’s preparedness and response to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases through the provision of medical infrastructure.
“One of these efforts is making medical oxygen available in tertiary institutions.
“Furthermore, medical practice in Nigeria needs to align with the new normal way of life. Telemedicine allows long-distance patients and physicians to interact and obtain care, advice, monitoring, education, and remote admission.
“The federal ministry of health is currently developing telemedicine and intends to maximise its use to expand healthcare coverage.”
The minister said the government is making efforts toward revamping primary healthcare facilities.
“This will be done at the community level and the primary healthcare workers have been trained on clinical case detection. This capacity building is an ongoing and continuous process,” he said.
“We as a country cannot afford to be complacent because the cost of complacency in infectious disease control can be enormous.”