The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Monday commenced a nationwide indefinite strike. In a communique issued after its virtual National Executive Council meeting, the association said it resolved to proceed on the strike from 12:01am Monday with the exemption of its members attending to COVID-19 patients at designated COVID -19 treatment and isolation […]

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Monday commenced a nationwide indefinite strike.

In a communique issued after its virtual National Executive Council meeting, the association said it resolved to proceed on the strike from 12:01am Monday with the exemption of its members attending to COVID-19 patients at designated COVID -19 treatment and isolation centres.

The association, in the communique signed by its president, Aliyu Sokomba, Secretary General Bilqis Muhammad, and the Publicity Secretary, Egbogu Stanley, however, added that those exempted would be co-opted to join the strike after two weeks if the situation remained the same.

It said 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 stakeholders.

The association had earlier given a 14-day ultimatum for the indefinite strike which ended on Sunday.

“At the just concluded ENEC of NARD, a decision to commence on a total indefinite strike with exemption only for COVID-19 treatment centre has been taken. This is with effect from 12:00am Monday 15/06/2020.

“NERD had last week hinted of its plan to embark on the industrial action due to government’s inability to meet its demands”, it said.

Dr Sokomba, had said in a statement that: “Consequent upon the 14 days 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 resident 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.

“It is important that you make alternative arrangements 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 centres shall be exempted.

“We sympathize with the patients and Nigerian populace.”

The demands of the resident doctors, on which the ultimatum was predicated, includes; 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 immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance and payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance as agreed by the government and healthcare workers three months ago.

Others are; provision of funding for Medical Residency Training in the 2021 Appropriation bill, and payment of all arrears owed its members in federal and states tertiary health institutions, as a result of adjustment of the national minimum wage, as well as stoppage and immediate refund of all illegal, and unjust cut in salaries of its members by Kaduna State and other state governments.

The doctors called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call relevant agencies to order to avoid creating chaos in his administration.

Source:Daily Trust