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Resident doctors begin indefinite nationwide strike

Valentine Chinyem

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The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) have begun a nationwide strike following the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government.

The Union President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, announced this while addressing journalists on Monday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

According to him, members of the union attending to COVID-19 patients in isolation centres across the country are exempted from the strike but noted that their exemption was for two weeks before they join the industrial action.

In a circular which was shared last week. the association explained that it found it necessary to take “the painful decision” following the inability of the Federal Government to meet its demands.

“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 May 29, we hereby notify you that all resident doctors, medical officers below the rank of Principal Medical Officer and House Officers across all the Federal and State hospitals in Nigeria, shall be embarking on a total and indefinite strike action effective 12:01 am 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 the Nigerian populace.

“For purpose of clarity, the demands on which the ultimatum was predicated include the following; Provision of grossly inadequate appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for all health care workers; Immediate reversal of the illegal disengagement of all 26 resident doctors in Jos University Teaching Hospital, and the payment of all salaries owed them, in keeping with provisions of the Medical Residency Training Act.

“Universal Implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all federal and state hospitals and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal cadre; Immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance and payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance as agreed with by the Federal Government and healthcare workers three months ago,” Sokomba said.

More so, the advocated the provision of funding for Medical Residency Training in the 2021 Appropriation bill, as well as payment of all arrears, owed its members in the federal and states tertiary health institutions, arising from the consequential adjustment of the National minimum wage.