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BREAKING: Resident doctors commence nationwide strike amid COVID-19

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The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) on Monday begun a nationwide strike after the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum given to the federal government.

In a statement released on Monday by the National President of NARD, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, the health professionals said they decided to commence the strike action after the government failed to meet its demands.

He added that the association decided to embark on an indefinite strike after six hours of deliberations on Sunday by the National Executive Committee of the association.

He said some of the association’s demands are 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.

He added that NEC also resolved to exclude doctors managing COVID-19 at the various isolation and treatment centres in Nigeria from the industrial action.

According to Sokomba, the exemption was a demonstration of goodwill to Nigerians and in appreciation of the efforts and sincerity of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajamila, and other stakeholders in resolving the issues.

The statement read: “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.”

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