Strike Again – Citizens Cries Out As Doctors Start strike On Monday

Doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) will resume its suspended nationwide strike on August 2, the body said on Saturday.

The ICIR revealed in April that a disagreement between the Medical Council of Nigeria and the chief executives of several hospitals had resulted in the non-payment of physicians’ wages for three months at at least 19 tertiary hospitals throughout the country.

The problem began in early April, when Okorie Venatus, a doctor at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital in Rivers state, died.

Venatus was one of the Federal Government’s debtors.

He passed out after apparently working for 72 hours straight without taking a break.

The incident, as well as other concerns documented by the physicians, prompted NARD to challenge the government and finally shut down operations.

The strike was called off after government intervention headed by Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, which resulted in the parties signing a Memorandum of Understanding.

NARD stated in a statement released on Saturday that the government had failed to keep its commitment to move its members from the GIFMIS to the IPPIS platform. It stated that its members remained trapped on the GIFMIS platform, which it said was riddled with payment problems.

NARD has expressed concern about the “undue hardship” its members on the GIFMIS platform are experiencing as a result of salary delays ranging from three to seven months.

“The NEC observed with grave concern the circular from the Federation’s Head of Service removing House Officers from the scheme of service and the Lagos state government’s subsequent implementation.

“They also observed that some House Officers are still being owed one to two months salaries.

“The NEC noted that bench fee for outside postings by resident doctors had been abolished. However, some chief medical directors have renamed the bench fee as training fee causing hardship on her members.” 

The list of impacted institutions for payment of the national consequential adjustment has been sent to the Federal Ministry of Health, according to the organization, but the ministry has yet to act.

Most tertiary health institutions are experiencing a “acute” labor shortage, according to NARD, which is causing burnout among its members.

The problem is exacerbated, according to the organization, by the continuous “deadly brain drain” that is “devastating the nation’s health-care system.”

It further claimed that after many meetings with the Presidential Committee on Salaries and other key government stakeholders to evaluate the hazard allowance for health professionals, the hazard allowance remained at a pitiful figure of 5,000 Naira.

The organization also asked that the circular withdrawing home officers from the service plan be withdrawn immediately.”

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