The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) of Nigeria on Monday commenced a nationwide indefinite strike. This is coming after the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum issued on the 30th of May. The President of NARD, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, announced this in a press briefing in Abuja.
He stated that the Association’s decision is predicated on the fact that the healthcare delivery system is characterised by the perpetual unavailability of personnel protective equipment (PPEs) for healthcare workers, which has caused an increase in infection rates.
He also noted that in spite of repeated promises, the Federal Government has still not paid the COVID-19 hazard inducement allowance to all health workers across the country.
Also, the implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State hospital, which ensures the inclusion of the residency funding into the reviewed 2020 budget, has not been effected.
According to Sokomba, “NEC noted the sorry state of the healthcare delivery system characterized by the perpetual unavailability of personnel protective equipment for healthcare workers in our hospitals with the attendant increase in infection rates, the unnecessary suffering of patients and their relatives, the financial hardship, the obsolete equipment, machines and technology etc.
“NEC noted the commitment of National Assembly speaker to implement the Medical Residency Training Act by ensuring inclusion of the residency funding into the reviewed 2020 budget.
“NEC observed the insincerity of the Appointees of Executive Arm of Government in paying the outstanding salary shortfall of 2014, 2015, 2016 under the guise of the so called appeal of the National Industrial Court decision.
“NEC observed non-payment of the COVID-19 hazard inducement allowance to all health workers across the country in spite of repeated promises by the government.”
He added, “NEC observed that the plight of her members in state tertiary hospitals such as the non-domestication and non-implementation of Medical Residency Training Act at the state level, the non-implementation of appropriate salary structure, and the non-payment of owed salaries and recently, the slashing of salaries of doctors and other health care workers by Kaduna and Kogi State government is yet to receive attention by the stakeholders.
“NEC Noted the meddlesome and abuse of administrative power by Professor Henry A.A.”
Sokomba said the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NARD therefore resolved to proceed on an indefinite nationwide strike action with the exemption of its members attending to COVID-19 patients at designated COVID -19 treatment and isolation centres for two weeks, after which if things remain the same, they shall also be co-opted to join the strike.
He said this exemption is in recognition of the intervention of the Honorable speaker, House of Representative, the chairman, house committee on health services Dr. Tanko Sununu and other stakeholders as well as a demonstration of our good will to Nigerians.
The Association, therefore, demands: “The provision of the grossly inadequate appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for all Healthcare workers.
“The universal Implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State hospitals and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal cadre.
“The immediate implementation of the revised Hazard allowance and payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance as agreed with by the Government and Healthcare Workers 3 months ago.
“The provision of funding for Medical Residency Training in the 2021 Appropriation bill.
“The payment of all arrears owed our members in Federal and States tertiary health institutions, arising from the consequential adjustment of the National minimum wage.
“The stoppage and immediate refund of all illegal, unjust and callous cut in salaries of our members by Kaduna State and other state governments.”
The Association urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to call relevant agents/agencies to order for deliberately creating chaos to destabilize his administration.
The National Executive Council meeting of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) held virtually on 14th June 2020, to review the 14-day ultimatum issued to government which elapsed two days ago.
The meeting was attended by over 500 doctors – NOC, NEC, Past Presidents, Caucus leaders, Committee Chairmen, and observers.