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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Resident doctors suspend indefinite strike 15 days after

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The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has suspended its indefinite nationwide strike, which began on July 26, 2023.

The association has directed its members across the country to resume work from Sunday 8 am.

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the association will review the progress made in terms of the implementation of their demands in two weeks time.

The demands of NARD include: Review of their Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), issuance of a circular by the Federal Ministry of Health for replacement of doctors and nurses that have left the system with new ones, and the payment of salary arrears, improvement in hazard allowance by state governments, among others.

The resident doctors had planned to embark on a picketing of the Federal Ministry of Health, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, as well as all federal and state tertiary health institutions nationwide.

However, due to the intervention from the Special Adviser to the President on health, Dr. Salma Anas, and the leadership of the National Assembly, the doctors suspended the protest and picketing the Federal Government’s institutions on Wednesday, August 19, 2023.

After deliberations, the NEC of NARD decided to suspend the strike for two weeks, after which it would reconvene to review the progress made.

In a chat with The Nation, the President of NARD, Dr. Emeka Orji explained it decided to suspend the strike because it has seen the government began process of implementing some of its demands, one of which is the approval of the Medical Residency Training.

He said: “We just suspended the strike. Work resumes at 8 am tomorrow (Sunday). We will review progress made in 2 weeks.

“Earlier in the week we had an intervention from the Villa, and the same day the Senate President also met with us. In both meetings, the government asked us to give them twenty four hours to address the urgent demands; at least, for us to see that they are addressing it.

“We have given that time, and we have seen that the urgent demands that we listed are receiving attention. The Medical Residency Training Fund for 2023 has been approved. Also, the circular on one-to-one replacement, which is also very important because that is what will address the manpower shortage that we are experiencing, they have also started working on it.

“From the process they have commenced, it will not take less than two weeks. So, our members just felt that since we have seen them working on these things, then, there is no point remaining on strike for two weeks; it is better we give them time, suspend, and then review again in two weeks time.

“We hope that by then, they will have finalized the process. Of course, concerning salary arrears, we are aware that a directive has been given to the Chief Medical Director (CMDs) to start submitting the list of arrears.

“So, we hope that this process that has started will continue, so that we don’t have cause to come back to these issues again.”

Source: The Nation

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