Resident doctors give Nigerian govt three weeks strike notice

Despite the spike in cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria, residents have threatened to embark on industrial action if their demands are not meant by the Federal Government.

The medical practitioner under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) gave a three-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet their demands or face their wrath.

The National President of NARD, Aliyu Sokomba, gave the ultimatum at a news conference on Saturday in Abuja.

The news conference was called to read a communiqué issued by the association after its six-day virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting and scientific conference, held in Gombe recently.

Aliyu told the Federal Government and the National Assembly to investigate what was responsible for the non-enrollment of health care workers in the group life assurance scheme for medical workers.

He also called for the probe of non-payment of death benefits to next of kins of their fallen colleagues, “in spite of claims of payment to insurance companies for the purpose.”

Sokomba said that the association had noted the initial intervention of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Insurance in addressing the non-payment and non-enrollment of resident doctors in the life assurance scheme, which according to him has now been abandoned.

The unionist also demanded an immediate and unconditional reinstatement of suspended executives of the association at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), led by Solomon Amadi.

“NEC notes with dismay the continued administrative rascality and victimisation of its members by the Chief Medical Director of (UPTH), Prof. Henry Ugboma.

“We frown at the suspension of resident doctors, who also double as the legitimate executive council officers of the Association of Resident Doctors in UPTH.”

Sokomba also called for immediate removal of Ugboma for alleged fraud, administrative rascality, unnecessary onslaught, victimisation and abuse of office.

According to him, the association also demands payment of COVID-19 hazard allowance to its members.

He noted that the association was disappointed that the COVID-19 hazard allowance payment was started only to be abandoned abruptly when NARD suspended its strike.

“NARD demands immediate implementation and funding of the Medical Residency Training Act as agreed.’’

He said the association also noted with dismay, the non-payment of the salary shortfall for 2014 to 2016, in spite of promises by several stakeholders to intervene, which led to the suspension of the strike.

“NEC demands immediate payment of the arrears and the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage owed some doctors.

“NARD calls on state governments to implement the Medical Residency Training Act and to ensure adequate remuneration of health workers

“Although the medical residency training funding has been captured in the revised 2020 budget and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the implementation of the funding is yet to commence.” Sokomba called for the provision of needed facilities to various hospitals, including supplies of personal protective equipment and funding of tertiary health institutions nationwide.

“We demand that various hospitals should be provided with the funds they need to run their services and ensure adequate healthcare delivery for the populace.

“NEC has resolved to extend the suspension of our strike by three weeks to give government time to address our demands, failure of which will leave us with no choice other than to resume the suspended strike on Aug. 17.

The theme of the NEC meeting, attended virtually by over 200 members nationwide was: “Targeted Violence against Health Care Workers in Nigeria’s Health Care Facilities: Effects on Health Care Service Delivery.”

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