MRTF: How resident doctors association (NARD) shortchanged 2022 set of resident doctors denying them of money that is due to them through act of commission or omission.
There is a huge crack in the NARD as we speak as the association is about to or is already facing division this time not from external forces like the federal or state government but from its own members….nearing over a thousand and counting. This dichotomy and brewing of bad blood is about money which was recently paid to resident doctors but over a 1000 doctors were denied with largely the connivance and collusion of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENT DOCTORS many believe.
The Nigerian Health Blog authoritatively gathered that the aggrieved resident doctors believe the Association President, Dr Emeka Orji, and members of his Excos maintained a conspiracy of silence and insensitivity when he found out that over 1000 members of the association comprising the 2022 set were excluded from the just payed MRTF.
It is important for us to make things clearer to you as we delve into this NARD internal crisis further.
What is MRTF?
MRTF means medical residency training fund. It is a significant amount of money backed by law paid annually to resident doctors to help assuage their numerous financial burden of paying for unending exams, update courses, hands-on, workshops, and other training programs.
Who is a resident doctor?
A resident doctor is first a human being affected same way by the current economic realities in Nigeria and globally. A resident doctor are doctors in training who aspires to become a specialist or a consultant. S/he is the first port of call in attending to emergencies and patient needs in our federal medical centres, teaching hospital and some general hospitals.
Historical Perspective of MRTF
MRTF is a federal government initiative gazetted in 2017 by the Buhari adminstration following which first tranche of payment was in 2019/2020 and has been consistent ever since. MRTF was re-viewed upward in 2022 to meet present economic realities.
Who is eligible for MRTF?
According to the gazetted document/parliament, there are 3 criteria one must meet to be eligible for the money. They are:
1. Be a resident doctor.
2. Passed your primaries (entrance exams for residency program)
3. Have IPPIS number. Must have been captured by IPPIS.
This document confirms it.
NARD failed promises
The various chapters of the NARD at the state level raised the hopes of its members assuring them that EVERY MEMBER MUST be paid the expected MRTF as all their data has been collated judiciously and forwarded to the IPPIS.
The cause of the internal wrangling, anger and bad blood in NARD.
Part of the demands of 17 day recently called off NARD strike is prompt payment of the reviewed MRTF to ALL residents which the Tinubu adminstration obliged to and budgeted tens of billions to naira for.
Some members of NARD (resident doctors) however, started getting alert few days after the strike while others did not. A large chunk of members who started residency in 2022 and met all the above criteria where omitted from the scheme. Tension rose immediately but the ARD chapters first tried to unconvincingly calm down the situation saying the aggrieved NARD members should wait for at most 48 hours for all the alerts to come in…
The problem lingered
After waiting for about 96 hours with no receipt of payment, the 2022/23 set of resident doctors started asking questions and demanded answers from the association who is supposed to look into the matter. To drive home their point, the affected resident doctors of 2022 formed an umbrella body nationally to drive home their demand of getting paid what is constitutionally due to them.
NARD sets new rules and eligibility criteria for payment of MRTF
Seeing that the pressure from the 2022 residents was unnerving and relentless, the NARD executives by extension chapter ARD presidents came up with an unconstitutional excuse for the denied mrtf payment claiming the 2022 set of residents were not paid because they were not up to a year in the residency program….a clause that is absent in the MRTF act.
The unconcerned, disrespectful and condescending posture of the NARD president.
After seeing that excuses he put out failed to pacify the already tensed situation, the NARD president called off 2 scheduled zoom meeting the affected residents were to have with him in the last minute further putting out another provocative communique that made everyone now convinced he had something to hide concerning the tensed situation.
Discrepancies, inconsistencies and the many lies of NARD concerning this matter:
1. Some members of the 2022 set of residents were paid at the exclusion of others
2. Some members of 2022 sets of resident of resident doctors who have barely spent 3 months in the programme were paid in many centres
3. Even some residents yet to get IPPIS number were paid.
4. The Nigerian Health Blog confirmed that NARD members that have exited the program, those that have left the shores of this country were paid. Then why were over a thousand home based resident doctors denied.
5. NARD came up with these excuses to deceive its members.
The NARD president, in July, posited that there are 10,000 resident doctors in Nigeria. Billions of naira was budgeted for the payment of the MRTF of all these resident doctors….Now that a large chunk of these residents were not paid, where is the remaining money going to.
As the affected 2022 set of resident doctors continue to demand for their financial rights….they allege corruption and plans are underway to go full blown to the social media, television stations, EFCC, ICPC, federal ministry of health, Senate house, with contacts already underway the presidency.
There is a strong indication that there will be Nationwide protests at strategic locations
Boycott of the association and its activities is also on the table
They are all in ALUTA MODE as they no longer trust NARD as far as his matter is concerned. Only payment of MRTF, they claim, will calm their nerves.
The Nigerian Health Blog is on the alert as the situation in NARD gets messier or get resolved.
This post was last modified on August 21, 2023 8:35 am