The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, on Monday directed the governing boards of federal tertiary health institutions to convene emergency meetings and order striking health workers to return to work.
The minister gave the directive during an emergency meeting with chief medical directors and medical directors of tertiary hospitals on Monday in Abuja.
Boade Akinola, director, media and public relations of the ministry, said the emergency meeting was to review the status of services being rendered in view of the ongoing strike by JOHESU members.
Members of Joint Health Sector Workers Union (JOHESU) have been on strike over pay parity with medical doctors since April 17.
The minister said anyone who failed to resume would be considered to have absconded from duty without leave, which is a serious misconduct in line with public service rule 030413.
He said monitoring teams were dispatched to the tertiary hospitals to assess the activities in various hospitals.
He said the monitoring teams submitted reports to the ministry which revealed that some hospitals were doing well in providing care, while others were performing below expectation.
Adewole commended the facilities that were offering full services using locum Staff and volunteers and directed immediate restoration of full services in all other facilities.
He singled out facilities in north-east, north-west and south-south zones for outstanding performance.
The minister said there was no reason any hospital should not have one ward per specialty open for operation.
Adewole said one gynaecology ward, one obstetrics ward, one paediatric ward, one surgical ward and one medical ward, should be kept functioning immediately in facilities yet to do so.
“The clinics must run, theatre must be opened, there is no reason why they should lock your theatre. No one has the right to lock up government hospitals,” the minister said.
Adewole said everyone who participated in the strike would not be paid for the period of the strike even if the strike was called off.
“We want you to go back and restore services in your various institutions immediately,” he said.
The minister urged chairmen of the boards to take charge of their facilities and that any chief executive not willing to keep the services running should be suspended and be replaced with another officer in acting capacity.