Residents doctors in Nigeria are embarking on what they called “total and indefinite” strike action from 12.01am on Monday 15th June, 2020.
This was contained in a letter to their members notifying them of the impending strike action.
The letter, with reference number NARD/SG/2019-2020/070620/246 and dated 7th June 2020, was titled: “NOTICE OF STRIKE.”
The doctors, writing under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) , described their cause as fair, just, worth fighting for, and timely.
The letter was signed by the president of the association, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba and the Secretary-General, Dr. Bilqis Muhammad.
“We firmly believe that our course is fair and just, worth fighting for and timely.”
The doctors gave five reasons while they were embarking on the strike:
- A weak health system made worse for “healthcare providers as a result of inadequate personal protective equipment, ridiculous hazard allowance of Five Thousand Naira only despite extreme risks associated with our practice.”
- Lack of budgetary allocation to the residency programme despite existing legislation to that effect.
- “Inhumane and hopeless” working conditions for members in state-owned tertiary health institutions.
- Unavailability of “life insurance or death-in-service benefit” for members should any of them die due to the risks associated with their jobs.
- Insensitive response on the part government to address the plights of members.
“This is the premium the government places on our lives as physicians and dental surgeons, and of course on the other healthcare workers,” the letter reads.
The letter commended members for their patience, noting that for the past three years, resident doctors in Nigeria had not gone on strike “notwithstanding the government’s unwillingness to address the situation.”
“For the past three (3) years, the Nigerian Association of Resident doctors has restrained herself from any form of strike action hoping the government would give reason a chance and address the issues bordering on the health, well-being and the training of doctors in Nigeria, all to no avail. You have exercised a great deal of patience and understanding for over three years, notwithstanding the government’s unwillingness to address the situation.”
Therefore, the doctors resolved that the strike action shall be inevitable because “judging from the trajectory”, the government is not ready to attend to their plight.
During the strike:
“No service of any kind, be it emergency, care at COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres shall be exempted and members including All Resident doctors, Medical Officers below the rank of Principal Medical Officer (PMO) and House Officers are expected to be part of the strike.”
The doctors sympathised with patients and the Nigerian population but said that their predicament was much worse.
“As difficult as a strike is on everyone, our present predicament is far worse; we sympathize with the patients and Nigerian populace.”
Below is the full release of the NARD on the impending strike action in Nigeria to members.