Resident doctors threaten fresh strike over unpaid salaries

By Our Correspondent

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has threatened to embark on an indefinite strike on April 1, if members owed salaries and allowances are not paid.

The decision was contained in a communique issued after the association’s  extraordinary national executive council meeting, which held on Saturday at the National Hospital, Abuja.

According to the communique signed by Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, Jerry Isogun, and Dotun Osikoya, president, secretary general, and social secretary, respectively, the association said government has refused to address issues raised in an earlier ultimatum issued in January 2021.

The doctors, who issued a 13-point demand, called for a review of the current salary structure, and the sack of the registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) “for failure to demonstrate competence in the handling of the central placement of house officers”.

Some of the demands, as contained in the communique, are: “Immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers including March salaries (regardless of quota system) before the end of business on the 31st of March 2021.

“Immediate payment of all salary arrears including March salaries for our members in all Federal (GIFMIS platform) and State Tertiary Health Institutions across the country especially ASUTH, IMSUTH and UNIMEDTH.

“Upward review of the current hazard allowance to 503 of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COV ID-19 inducement allowance especially in State owned-tertiary institutions.
“Abolishment of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by our members on outside postings in all training institutions across the country with immediate effect.

“Payment of salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015 and 2016 to our members in all federal institutions including state-owned institutions as earlier agreed with NARD.”

Among other issues, the association further requested the payment of insurance for members who died in service, as well as the “universal domestication/implementation of the 2017 Medical Residency Training Act”.

They also called for the payment of the medical residency training funds (MRTF) dating back to 2019, and the “immediate implementation of September 2017 Memorandum of Terms of Settlement (MOTOS) between NARD and the federal government of Nigeria in order to bring lasting peace to the health sector and curb the ongoing ugly trend of brain drain from the health sector”.

In September 2020, the association had also embarked on a strike over issues related to residency funding, COVID-19 allowance, as well as outstanding salaries.

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