From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Resident doctors, under the umbrella of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have suspended their nationwide strike.
The doctors said six weeks was agreed on by both parties as a period within which the government is expected to fulfil its own side of the bargain or there would be another industrial disharmony in the health care system.
Secretary General of the Association, Dr. Suleiman Abiodun, said the decision to suspend the strike was taken by members of the National Executive Council (NEC) at a meeting held virtually between Friday and Sunday.
He said after extensive deliberations on the nationwide strike and other developments concerning the doctors, 56 chapters of the association voted for the suspension of the nationwide strike, 28 voted for its continuation while five chapters were absent.
He confirmed that government has taken obvious steps that indicate their interest and commitment to industrial peace and harmony in the sector, hence the decision to suspend the strike to allow for more dialogue and negotiation.
He said: “We are new executives of NARD, and as expected, each administration has its leadership style. We choose to end the strike to allow for other ways of resolving the dispute, besides, government has shown interest in an end to the crisis.”
On August 2, resident doctors in public health facilities unanimously agreed to withdraw their services nationwide over unpaid allowances and other welfare issues.
Other demands included immediate salary payment to all house officers and an upward review of the hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated salaries of all health workers.
They also wanted payment of outstanding COVID-19 allowance and death in service insurance for all health workers, who died as a result of COVID-19 infection or other infectious diseases in the country.
NARD also insisted that salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015, and 2016, owed members in state and federal health institutions be paid.
Since the commencement of the strike by NARD, healthcare delivery in state and federal public health facilities has remained epileptic with only consultants and NYSC doctors available in most facilities to cater to the health needs of the public.