Nigerian doctors vow to continue strike

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), on Friday, insisted that it would continue the ongoing nationwide strike until the Federal Government implements the terms of their agreement, including the payment of salary arrears and indemnity for their colleagues who died from COVID-19.

The resident doctors’ strike entered its second day on Friday.

The NARD President, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Dr Ifeanyin Ofuani, said patients were not being attended to because the strike was total.

Ofuani told the News Agency of Nigeria that, while no resident doctor would attend to any patient, whether emergency or otherwise, consultants were however on the ground to attend to emergency patients.

When reminded of a claim by the Federal Government that it had reached an agreement with the association, Ofuani refuted the claim, saying, “We have not reached any agreement with the Federal Government.

“They gave us another memorandum of understanding or action, whatever they call it, to sign and we are tired of that. We have been signing that since 2014 and up till today, they have not honoured any of the memoranda. We want action; we don’t want memoranda anymore.”

In Jalingo, Taraba State, the Federal Medical Centre and the State Specialist Hospital offered skeletal services. One of our correspondents observed that only emergency cases were being attended to at the State Specialist Hospital.

The NARD President in the hospital, Dr Gabriel Ahmed, confirmed that “we are complying with the strike and until we have a contrary directive from the national (leadership), we can’t do otherwise.”

At the FMC Jalingo, the ARD President, Dr Divine Njadze, told one of our correspondents in a telephone interview that doctors were complying with the strike, saying, “Only those on Consolidated Medical Salary Structure 6 and above as well as medical consultants and chief medical officers are offering skeletal services at the hospital.

“For us on CONMESS 5 and below, we are complying with the strike and until we hear from the national body, the strike will persist.”

Resident doctors in Katsina State also joined their colleagues in the nationwide strike, as one of our correspondents observed at the FMC and General hospital, Katsina.

The ARD President, Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe, Dr Daniel Apollos, described the situation as unfortunate and urged the Federal Government to do the right thing.

The NARD Chairman, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile Ife branch, Dr Simeon Kusoro, said that total compliance was recorded in the hospital, adding that the hospital was “almost empty.”

The NARD President in Cross River, Dr Godwin Udoh, stated that the strike was “total and indefinite.” Consultants, however, continued to attend to patients at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.

The resident doctors at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State also complied fully with the directive, saying consultant physicians were still at work attending to critical cases.

The Public Relations Officer, UCH, Mr Toye Akinrinlola, said, “All our emergency areas – accident and emergency, intensive care unit, children emergency and antenatal – are all working.

“The consultants, nurses, medical laboratory experts, pharmacists and other categories of medical personnel are at their duty posts. The management has been proactive.”

The Nasarawa State chapter of the association also joined the nationwide strike declared by its national body, according to its President, Dr Moses Joshua.

In Kaduna, activities at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria; Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, National Eye Centre, National Ear Care Centre were paralysed as a result of the strike.

According to the President of NARD at the National Ear Care Centre, Dr Magaji Auwal, “the hospital is on an indefinite strike as directed by the association.”

But resident doctors on the state government’s payroll were not affected as they were seen carrying out their normal activities unhindered.

The NARD Chairman, Kaduna State, Dr Umar Ikara, told one of our correspondents that its members declined to join the strike, saying their challenges were different from those of the national level of NARD.

Ikara said, “We held (a) meeting with our congress members and they were sceptical about joining the national strike, so we have reported the decision of our congress to the national body. Our members are not on strike.”

The University of Uyo Teaching hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State is running emergency services only following the nationwide strike by resident doctors in Nigeria. – Punch.

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