Cover News

Why NARD suspended indefinite strike

…To review progress after 4 weeks

By Hassan Zaggi

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), has suspended its ongoing indefinite strike action with effect from Monday, June 22 by 8am.

The strike began on June 15.

The reason it suspended the strike, according to a communique it issued at the end of its virtual meeting on Sunday, was in order to give the federal and state governments time to fulfill the outstanding demands following an appeal by the Speaker of the Federal House of Representative, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum and other stakeholders.

The communique was signed by its President, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, Secretary General; Dr. Bilqis Muhammad and Publicity Secretary, Dr. Egbogu Stanley.

Despite the suspension of the strike, the communique revealed, the national executives of the association will continue the negotiation with stakeholders and review the progress after four weeks.

“NEC resolved to SUSPEND the ongoing indefinite strike action with effect from Monday, June 22, 2020, by 8am prompt.

“The national officers shall continue negotiations with stakeholders and progress made shall be reviewed in four weeks during the next National Executive Council meeting in July 2020.

“This decision to suspend the strike action was taken in order to give the federal and state government time to fulfill the outstanding demands following an appeal by the Speaker of the Federal House of Representative, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum and other stakeholders.,” the communique noted.

It would be recalled that after its virtual meeting, NARD at a press conference on Monday, June 15, declared an indefinite strike.

Some of the complaints raised by the group included the non-payment of special allowances for the resident doctors, the deplorable state of hospitals and the lack of protective equipment for members of the union treating COVID-19 patients leading to the death of some doctors in recent times.

Others reasons for embarking on the strike, NARD said, include the universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State Hospitals and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal cadre, provision of funding of medical residency training in the 2021 appropriation bill, as well as the implementation of the revised hazard and payment of agreed COVID-19 inducement allowances.

The group also called for the immediate stoppage and refund of what it described as, all illegal, unjust and callous cut in salaries of our members by Kaduna State and other state governments.

On what the government has done so far, the NARD acknowledged the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to some hospitals.

However, it said, these PPEs are consumables and non-reusable, therefore the need for sustained supply.

“That the Medical residency training funding has been included in the revised 2020 budget through the intervention of the Hon. Speaker, House of Representative and will be implemented as soon as the budget is assented to by the President.

“At the same time, we await the fulfillment of the promise made by the Nigeria Governors Forum to ensure same is done in all the states.

“On the salary shortfall for 2014-2016, The Secretary to the Government of the federation has promised to intervene.

“Government has shown commitment to procure group life insurance for health workers.

“That the disengaged resident doctors at Jos University Teaching Hospital have been reinstated, the Chief Medical Director has been directed to pay their withheld salaries and comply with the provisions of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA).

“On State Tertiary Health Institutions (STHIs), the Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum His Excellency Dr Kayode Fayemi and the DG NGF Mr. Asishana Okauru, appealed to be given time to discuss with other state Governors of Kogi, Gombe, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Lagos, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Enugu, Anambra, Abia and Imo for immediate pay parity as with the corrected CONMESS of 2019 and that salary shortfalls due our members will be paid shortly.

“NARD also met His Excellency Engr Seyi Makinde the Executive Governor of Oyo state who also gave his words to favourably look into all challenges of our members in LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Ogbomoso with a view to abiding by the international standard.

“That the Executive Governors of Delta and Benue States from reports by our members have been supportive although more needs to be done.

“NEC observed that COVID-19 inducement allowance has only been paid to Eleven Federal health institutions and most state governments are yet to review the hazard allowance of health workers.”

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