By Martins Ifijeh
Despite the threat posed by COVID-19 in Nigeria, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) said it will commence a nationwide strike action on Monday, June 15 to press home its demands.
In a statement made available to THISDAY Monday, the National President, NARD, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, said federal government’s unwillingness to address its concerns had resulted in the the association’s decision to commence the indefinite industrial action.
He 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 May 29, 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.”
He said for the purpose of clarity, the demands on which the ultimatum was predicated include the provision of grossly inadequate appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all healthcare 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, adding that this was in keeping with the provisions of the Medical Residency Training Act.
He said: “It also includes the 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; and provision of funding for Medical Residency Training in the 2021 Appropriation bill. Payment of all arrears owed our members in federal and states tertiary health institutions, arising from the consequential adjustment of the National minimum wage.”
He also emphasised that the demand includes stoppage and immediate refund of all illegal, unjust and ‘callous’ cut in salaries of its members by Kaduna State Government.