Nigerian Doctors Threaten To Go On Strike

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In a bid to tackle the brain drain in the health sector, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement the new National Minimum Wage, hazard allowance and other approved funds for its members.

NARD said the alleged Federal Government’s failure to comply with its demand within the time frame may spur the association to embark on industrial action.

These were contained in a communique jointly signed by NARD’s President, Dare Ishaya, Secretary General, Suleiman Abiodun, Publicity and Social Secretary, Alfa Yusuf respectively, and issued to newsmen in Lafia on Saturday at the end of the July National Executive Council meeting and Scientific Conference of NARD with the theme, ”The Quagmire of Medical Workplace Hazards: Defending A Nation Under A Shade of Arrows.”

The communique read in part, “The NEC observed with dismay the unnecessary delay in the new Hazard Allowance for over seven months since its approval on December 22, 2021. Also observed is the delay in the payment of the 2020 Medical Residency Training Fund to our members who were omitted despite several efforts made by the association.

“The NEC noted that several years after the implementation of a New Minimum Wage in 2019, some of our members are yet to benefit from the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage.

“As the 2023 Appropriation bill is being prepared, the NEC calls for increased funding of the healthcare sector in the country to the tune of 15 per cent budgetary allocation in line with the 2001 Abuja declaration for healthcare financing in Africa and global best practices. 

“The NEC urges the Federal Government to take steps towards curtailing the brain drain in the health sector and find ways of eliminating all bureaucratic bottlenecks in the employment and replacement of the resident doctors, leaving our institutions daily to seek greener pastures.

“The NEC shall by the expiration of the two-week ultimatum, reconvene to review the progress made so far and take further actions for which the nationwide industrial harmony may not be guaranteed.”

The communique further enjoined the Federal Government and all State Governments to look
into the issue of assault on doctors and thoroughly investigate the ongoing cases and put measures in place to halt the menace in the bid to forestall future
occurrences.

The resident doctors called on the FG, the Nigerian Governors Forum, stakeholders, and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the governors of
Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe states to urgently pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed its members in the states’ Tertiary Health Institutions, lamenting that the matter was becoming embarrassing.

While expressing gratitude to the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, for approving and commencing the payment of the Medical Residency Training Fund to Resident Doctors at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia, NARD appealed to the governor to fulfill his promise of employing the wife of their deceased member who died of workplace hazard into the State Civil Service as it was done to the two spouses of their other colleagues who died from Lassa Fever last year.

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