By Ruth Richard
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) Monday commenced a nationwide indefinite strike to drive home demands they earlier put forward to the Federal Government.
Century Newsfront gathered that the Association, in a communiqué signed by its President, Aliyu Sokomba, Secretary-General, Bilgis Muhammad and the Publicity Secretary, Egogbu Stanley after a virtual National Executive Council meeting, the association said it has resolved to proceed on strike from 12:01am Monday with the exemption
of its members attending to COVID-19 treatment and isolation centers.
The Association added that those exempted will be co-opted to join the strike after two weeks if the situation remained the same. It is said that the exemption was in recognition of the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Chairman House Committee on Health Services, Dr Tanko Sununu and other
Information reaching Century Newsfront stated that the Association had earlier given a 14-day ultimatum to the federal government of Nigeria for the indefinite strike, which ended on Sunday. At the just-concluded ENEC and NERD meeting, a decision to commence on an indefinite strike with exemption to only COVID-19 treatment center has been taken. This is with effect from 12:00am Monday 15/06/2020.
Recalled that NERD has last week hinted of its plans to commence a nationwide indefinite strike if its demands are not met by the Federal Government. Dr. Sokomba had said in a statement “consequent upon the 14days ultimatum duly served the Federal Government for indefinite strike action in accordance with the resolution of the Ordinary
General Meeting of the Association on the 29th of May 2020, we hereby notify you that all Residents Doctors, Medical Officers below the rank of Principal Medical Officer (PMO) and House Officers across all the Federal and State Hospitals in Nigeria, shall be embarking on a total and indefinite strike action effective 12:01am on Monday 15th June 2020″.
The state continues, “It is important that you make alternative arrangement for the care of the patients as the strike shall be total and indefinite. No service of any kind, be it emergency, care at COVID-19 isolation and treatment center shall be exempted. We sympathize with the patients and Nigerian populace”. The demands of the Resident Doctors include: provision of appropriate personal protective equipment for all healthcare workers, universal
implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all federal and state hospitals and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal cadre as well as the immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance and payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance as agreed by the federal government and healthcare workers three months ago.
Other demands include: provision of funding for medical residency training in the 2021 appropriation bill and payment of all arrears owed it’s members in federal and states tertiary health institutions as a result of the adjustment of the national minimum wage, as well as stoppage and immediate refund of all illegal and unjust cuts of the salary of its members by Kaduna State and other state governments. The doctors call on President Mohammadu Buhari to call relevant agencies to order to avoid creating chaos in his administration especially as the nation is battling with the Coronavirus outbreak.