Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Medical doctors under the umbrella of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have directed its members to withdraw their services effective Monday night to register their discontent over the failure of the Federal Government to meet their demands.
The medical body, however, exempted from the strike members attending to COVID-19 patients at designated treatment and isolation centres for two weeks, after which they would be required to join the general strike.
The NARD explained that the exemption was in recognition of the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Dr Tanko Sununu, and other stakeholders as well as a demonstration of goodwill to Nigerians.
NARD President Dr Aliyu Sokomba, in a statement released in Abuja on Monday, explained that the decision to down tools was in response to unimpressive attention received from the Federal Government in the last few weeks regarding its requests on salaries, entitlements and others benefits.
He recalled that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the body at its 40th ordinary general meeting held in Bauchi on May 30 called on to the government to attend to its needs, threatening a general strike should it fail.
‘For the purpose of clarity, the demands on which the ultimatum was predicated includes but not limited to the provision of the grossly inadequate appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for all healthcare workers responding to COVID-19 pandemic,’ Dr Sokomba said.
‘Universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State
hospitals, and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal Cadre. Also, immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance and payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance as agreed with the Government and healthcare workers three months ago.
‘Others are the 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, and stoppage and immediate refund of all illegal, unjust and callous cut in salaries of our members by Kaduna State and other state governments.’