Nigerian doctors to commence nationwide strike action amid COVID-19

Kenyan doctors Photo: The Star/ Monicah Mwangi
Kenyan doctors Photo: The Star/ Monicah Mwangi

Resident doctors in Nigeria on Friday announced that it would embark on an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday, as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Executive Council(NEC) of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors(NARD) announced this in a statement as part of its resolutions after a virtual meeting held on Wednesday.

Sokomba Aliyu, the association’s national president, said in the statement that the meeting which was attended by over 200 doctors was held to review the 21-day ultimatum issued to the government which elapsed on Aug. 17.

The doctors announced the strike with the decision coming after Nigeria recorded 124 new cases of coronavirus infection on Thursday, bringing the nation’s confirmed cases to 54,587 with the number of deaths rising to 1,048.

The doctors had in May issued an ultimatum to embark on an indefinite strike if the government failed to address their demands within 14 days.

Part of the demands of the NARD from the government included the immediate payment of the medical residency training funding to all its members as approved in the revised 2020 budget; provision of genuine group life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers.

The resident doctors also demanded payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance to all health workers, determination of the revised hazard allowance for all health workers as agreed in previous meetings with relevant stakeholders, and the immediate payment of the salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Strikes are not rarely seen in Nigeria’s public health system, with health workers frequently seeking pay rises and improvements to under-funded infrastructure to meet the rising burden of healthcare in the West African nation.

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