Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Medical doctors under the umbrella of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have directed members to withdraw their services, effective Monday night, to register their discontent over poor welfare and remuneration from government.
It, however, exempted members attending to COVID-19 patients at designated treatment and isolation centres from the industrial action for two weeks after which they would be co-opted into the strike.
NARD president, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, in a statement in Abuja yesterday, said the decision to down tools was a result of poor response from government in the last few weeks regarding the requests on salaries, entitlements and improvement in working conditions.
He said the exemption was in recognition of the intervention of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Dr. Tanko Sununu, other stakeholders and as a demonstration of goodwill to Nigerians.
He said the national executive council of NARD, at its 40th ordinary general meeting held in Bauchi, on May 30, called on government to attend to its needs or it would be met with unfriendly action, which may include a strike.
“For the purpose of clarity, the demands on which the ultimatum was predicated include but not limited to the provision of the grossly inadequate appropriate personal protective equipment (PPEs) for all healthcare workers responding to COVID-19 pandemic. 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 provision of funding for medical residency training in the 2021 Appropriation Bill, payment of all arrears owed members in federal and state tertiary health institutions arising from the consequential adjustment of the national minimum wage, stoppage and immediate refund of all illegal, unjust and callous cut in salaries of our members by Kaduna State and other state governments.”