Bayelsa doctors comply with NARD directive on strike – Officials

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Resident doctors in two teaching hospitals in Bayelsa on Tuesday complied with the directive of  the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), to embark on a total, indefinite nationwide strike.
Dr Divine Irole, President of NARD at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenogoa told NAN that members of the association totally complied with the directives and are awaiting further instructions from the national leadership of the union.
The National Daily reports that NARD directed its members across the country to embark on a total strike from Monday.
The directive was issued on Saturday at the end of the executive meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union held in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
Irole said:”we have withdrawn our services in compliance to a directive from the national leadership.
“Feedback from our monitoring team, indicates that the compliance is 100 per cent. We have downed tools and the few consultants are providing skeletal services.
“A lot of patients have already been discharged. The truth is that bulk of the work in the health sector is done predominantly by resident doctors.
”We do not see the action of the consultants as sabotage. They are not on strike”.
Similarly, Dr Oru-Oru Inetsol, President of NARD at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Yenagoa, said the consultants’ roles are not in conflict with the interest of resident doctors.
The doctors had embarked on industrial action in April, leaving many patients unattended across various government-owned hospitals in the country.
They later suspended it 10 days later following a virtual meeting with members which lasted about 15 hours on April 10.
Some of the issues raised by the medical practitioners as of then included the immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers, including March salaries (regardless of quota system) before the end of business on March 31.
They also sought an upward review of the hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance, especially in state-owned-tertiary Institutions.
The doctors called for the abolishment of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by their members on outside postings in all training institutions across the country.
NARD National President, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, said:”we are embarking on a total and indefinite strike on Aug. 2.
”You can recall we had a memorandum of action on March 31, and had an addendum to it on April 9, and since then, we still have had irregularities in the payment of salaries to the house officers.
“We had issues with them being non-regular payment and as part of the memorandum of action, it was said that they should be captured back into the IPPS platform,” he said.
The NARD president, however, apologised to Nigerians for the decision which he insisted was a result of the government’s failure in its responsibilities.
Meanwhile, Minister of Labour , Dr Chris Ngige  on Monday expressed shock that the NARD embarked on another strike after a similar successful evaluation meeting with him last week.