- Seek payment of salary arrears, better infrastructure
- Families relocate patients to private clinics
National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, has called all resident doctors across the country to commence a nationwide strike as it suspends services effective today from 8am.
NARD gave this directive yesterday to all its members across public hospitals and instructed that hospitals remain shut till next week Monday, as it embarks on a five day warning strike to press government to meet its demands.
The NARD said that consequently, both in and out-patients in government hospitals across the nation would have to be treated by consultant (senior) doctors who are often fewer in number than the resident doctors.
And as often experienced, patients with the means would have to move to private hospitals where medical bills are higher.
In a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, president of NARD, Dr Muhammad Askira told newsmen that government had failed to meet demands of the practitioners, even after recent assurances from President Muhammadu Buhari, when he met with leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, and assured the doctors of prompt attention to their grievances.
He said that the indefinite strike earlier planned for last Monday had been shelved, adding that the association would further take a decision on next line of action at the end of this month.
“After exhaustive deliberations, the NEC made the following resolution: that the proposed indefinite strike action due to commence on 9th May 2016 has been shelved. That a five-day nationwide warning strike will be embarked upon commencing from Wednesday 11 May, 2016 by 8am for work to resume on Monday 16 May, 2016 by 8am prompt. That NARD will review the situation at our Ordinary General Meeting holding from 30 May, 2016.
“This decision is to press home our demands for implementation, in one hand, and also to enable the government enough time to expedite action in areas not adequately addressed.”
Askira explained that after critical analysis of issues affecting NARD at an “extra-ordinary” National Executive Council, NEC, meeting, it observed that there were some processes still ongoing in resolving the impasse between government and the doctors, and that the efforts so far made by government had not yet met the doctors’ demands.
According to him, some of the grudges considered at the NEC meeting include resident doctors who work in states of the country that were yet to be paid their salaries; skipping and all accrued arrears for doctors yet to be implemented in most hospitals in the country; unpaid December salaries of doctors in some federal hospitals; and house officers’ entry steps not affected.
The doctors argued that a committee promised by government on residency training was yet to take off while some of their members sacked by government had not been recalled.
Speaking on recurrent crisis in the nation’s health sector, especially among health professionals, Askira complained that non-medical practitioners were to blame, saying that many non-doctors who had wanted to become doctors failed university admission test set by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, and eventually accepted to study other health-related programmes adjudged by the public to be lower in value than Medicine.
The NARD, however, commended President Buhari, members of the National Assembly and Nigerians for their positive roles since the beginning of this impasse.