FG Fails To Stop Doctors’ Strike As NARD Says Move To Challenge Buhari To Take Responsibilities

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Thursday commenced an indefinite strike over non-payment of members’ allowance and other benefits despite its meeting with the Federal Government on Wednesday night.

NARD had announced plans to commence the strike on March 28 after a meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC).

In a bid to prevent the strike amid COVID-19, a government delegation led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, met with the doctors on Wednesday and pleaded with them to shelve the action.

Ngige pleaded with NARD to consider the negative impact that the strike would have on the country’s health system if they went ahead with the strike.

But NARD, after the meeting, insisted on going ahead with the planned strike.

“Nigerians must understand that we love them and the strike is not intended to hurt them but to challenge the Nigerian government of President Muhammadu Buhari whose responsibilities amongst others is to care for her citizens and labour force to do the needful,” the association said in a tweet on Thursday.

NARD’s Demands

The doctors are seeking upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 percent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of outstanding COVID-19 allowance pending since last year.

The doctors had called for the abolishment of exorbitant bench fees being paid by members on outside postings in all training institutions across the country.

The resident doctors also demanded that payment of salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015, and 2016 to members in all federal Institutions including state-owned institutions as earlier agreed with NARD must be met.

NARD said there must be payment of death in service insurance for all health workers who died as a result of COVID-19 infection and other infectious diseases.

The doctors also demanded universal domestication and implementation of the 2017 Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) by all federal and state-owned training institutions.

According to the association, it would ensure proper funding of residency training in the country as stipulated by the Act.

NARD also called for the commencement of employment into all government-owned hospitals to improve service delivery to Nigerians and enhance residency training to curb brain drain in the health sector.

The doctors sought for the review of the Act regulating postgraduate medical training in Nigeria in line with international best practices.

They demanded the sack of the Registrar of Medical and Dental Council Nigeria (MDCN) for allegedly failing to demonstrate competence in handling the central placement of house officers.

The doctors said meeting these demands would give room for the smooth implementation of the central placement of house officers without delays.

NARD further reiterated its commitment to the smooth running of all tertiary institutions in the country and the provision of specialist healthcare to Nigerians.

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