Resident doctors say strike to continue indefinitely until demands are met

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) says the ongoing nationwide strike action embarked upon by its members on Wednesday may continue indefinitely

It added that the strike would continue until the government made reasonable progress to address its demands as contained in the ultimatum issued to the federal government on July 5.

The association made its stand known in a communique it issued on Saturday at the end of its national executive council (NEC) meeting held in Lagos.

The meeting, which began on Monday, had “Bullying in Medical Practice: a Matter of Perspective?” as its theme.

The communique was signed jointly by NARD’s national president, Innocent Orji, secretary-general, Chikezie Kelechi and the publicity and social secretary, Umar Musa.

The demands of the group include the immediate release of the circular on the one-for-one policy for the replacement of exited clinical workers for implementation.

“We cannot continue to watch our members lose their lives and break down under the weight of work overload occasioned by massive depletion of clinical staff in our hospitals on account of brain drain.

“We demand, as a matter of urgency, the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF).

“To demand the payment of all salaries and arrears including the salary arrears
of 2014-2016, arrears of hazard allowance, arrears of consequential
adjustment of the minimum wage, and promotion arrears to our deserving members without further delay.”

The association also called on the medical and dental council of Nigeria (MDCN) to reverse the downgrading of the membership certificate.

It added that continuing with the downgrading of the certificates would only reduce the value placed on postgraduate medical training in Nigeria.

The group said it embarked on the strike action on Wednesday after many months and years of non-implementation of agreements reached with the government.

“NEC observed the attempts made by some well-meaning Nigerians to resolve the issues at stake but expressed surprise that these have not resulted in any
meaningful solutions.

“We have observed the various meetings held with government agents and officials over the demands of NARD, the various memoranda and agreements reached, and the unfortunately slow wheel of progress of the government’s implementation processes.

“NEC also observed with shock that up till now, about two months after the agreed date, the government has not yet released the circular on one-for-one replacement of exited clinical workers,” it noted.

The association said that this was in negligence of the morbid and mortal effects of the massive brain drain on its members still working in the country and Nigerian citizens.