MEDICAL union the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (Nard) has commenced a nationwide strike after the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum given to the government to meet their demands with regards to combating the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently Africa’s third most infected country behind South Africa and Egypt, Nigeria has 16,085 of coronavirus, of which 420 persons have died. However, the figures are still rising and the government is struggling to come to grips with the crisis as the easing of the lockdown is leading to a spread of the virus.
Last week, the Nard pointed out that they were unhappy with the approach the government has adopted, claiming not enough equipment has been provided. They gave the federal government a 14-day ultimatum to immediately implement agreements reached or risk an indefinite strike.
Nard president Dr Aliyu Sokomba, said the association found it necessary to take the painful decision following the inability of the federal government to meet its demands. Among other things Nard was protesting the harassment of its members by the security forces as they go about trying to combat the pandemic.
Dr Sokomba said: “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 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.”
He also 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.