Resident doctors suspend warning strike, resume today

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After a five-day nationwide warning strike by its members, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has ordered its members to return to work today (Monday).

NARD did state, however, that it would review the Federal Government’s commitment to resolving the concerns in the next two weeks following its three-hour Extraordinary National Executive Council meeting.

The association on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government to address the issues raised by the resident doctors.

NARD, however, said it would be reviewing the strike in two weeks.

Recall that the NARD on May 17 embarked on a nationwide strike to press home its demands from the Federal Government.

The doctors are demanding immediate withdrawal of the bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to render five-year compulsory services in Nigeria before being granted full licences to practise, as well as demanding immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals; Also demanding immediate infrastructural development in the hospitals with a subsequent allocation of at least 15 per cent of the budgetary provisions to health in line with the 2001 Abuja declaration.

Other demands are the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund in line with the agreements reached at the stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Federal Ministry of Health on February 15, 2023; the immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of the gross salary of Doctors in addition to the allowances included in the letter written to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire on July 7, 2022, for the review of CONMESS; among others.

In a conversation with PUNCH, Dr. Emeka Orji, the association’s president, announced that the strike had been called off starting at 8 a.m. on Monday.

He said that the association’s regular general meeting in Lagos will be used to review the status of its demands.

Orji said, “The strike has been suspended and work resumes at 8am tomorrow (Monday). The ultimatum extended till June 2, 2023, for reassessment.”

The Publicity, and Social Secretary of the association, Dr Umar Usman, said, “Before we embarked on the strike, we called a National Executive Council meeting and the council gave us the backing and we promised that it would be a five-day warning strike and at the end of it, we will call them to the progress made.

“So, we will resume tomorrow as agreed. Since we have signed a MoU with the government, the agreement has a timeline and it was agreed that issues will be addressed with timelines. We will review the commitments made and to know the progress about the issues raised.”

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