COVID-19: Doctors protest bad welfare, issue 14-day strike notice

Nigeria’s fight against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic is under threat as resident doctors under the aegis of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have threatened to down tools over poor welfare.

Rising from its virtual Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) and Scientific Conference on Saturday, the doctors stated that they would embark on an indefinite strike if the Federal Government failed to address their demands within 14 days.

In a communique signed by NARD National President, Dr. Sokomba Aliyu and Publicity Secretary, Dr. Egbogu Stanley, the doctors called on the Federal and State governments to provide adequate personnel protective equipment such as N95 respirators, gloves etc. to all health workers.

According to the association, the 26 resident doctors sacked at Jos University Teaching Hospital must also be recalled and their salaries paid as they were illegally disengaged without recourse to the law governing Residency training.

“The association also demands for universal implementation of the Residency Training Act in both Federal and State Teaching hospitals. NARD demands immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance, and payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance,” the communique said.

The association enjoined the Federal Government through the National Assembly to ensure full capture of the residency training funding in the 2021 Appropriation Act.

It also demanded for payment of arrears of the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage to its members at both Federal and state tertiary health institutions.

The Association condemned what it called “the illegal deductions in salaries” of members by some state governments and demanded for immediate refund.

“NARD observes the slashing of salaries of our members at state tertiary health institutions with particular reference to Kaduna state government that cut the salaries of health workers by twenty five percent.”

It also called on security agencies especially in Lagos, Delta and Abuja to stop the harassment and assault of doctors while carrying out their legitimate activities.

“NARD observes non-payment of arrears of the consequential adjustment of new minimum wage to some of her members.

It also observed with concern, the non-implementation of revised CONMESS and skipping arrears by some state governments in various state tertiary teaching hospitals.

The NARD noted the shortage of medical staff especially resident doctors in most health institutions across the country and called on the government to address the problem.