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June 6, 2023
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Resident doctors spend 128 strike days under Buhari – Punch Newspapers

The strike embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors resulted in a loss of 128 working days between 2016 and 2023, Saturday PUNCH reports.

Resident doctors spent about four months on industrial action under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to press home their demands.

The strikes were a result of government’s failure to meet the demands of the doctors over the years.

Our correspondent gathered that the doctors, under the leadership of Dr Muhammad Askira, embarked on an 18-day strike in 2016.

Dr Askira listed some of their demands as payments of members’ salaries and appropriate placement of members in states and federal tertiary hospitals across the nation.

Others were the reversal of sacked members in some hospitals as well as appropriate funding of the residency training programme.

In 2017, under the leadership of Dr John Onyebueze, resident doctors went on at least 21 days of nationwide strike due to the failure of the government to resolve the salary shortfall of 2016 and January to May 2017. They also asked the government to regularise house officers’ entry point, correct the stagnation of promotion of members and properly place them on their appropriate grade level; among others.

In 2020, the doctors went on a one-week indefinite strike amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The doctors requested for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment for all health workers, immediate reversal of the disengagement of 26 resident doctors in Jos University Teaching Hospital, and the payment of all salaries owed them, in keeping with provisions of the Medical Residency Training Act; among others.

The association embarked on another strike from September 7 to 10, 2020, to press home its demands.

NARD went on strike on April 1, 2021. The strike was suspended on April 10 due to the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.

The strike was due to the refusal of the Office of the Head of Service to allow the enrolment of resident doctors on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system platform.

Another strike by the association began on August 2, 2021, and was suspended after 64 days.

Some of the demands made by NARD were the immediate salary payment to all house officers and an upward review of the hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated salaries of all health workers, among others.

NARD ended its five-day warning strike on May 22, the latest by the union. It, however, said it would review Federal Government’s commitment to resolving its concerns on June 2, 2023.

The doctors are demanding an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of the current gross salaries of doctors.

The doctors also want immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals and the immediate withdrawal of the bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to render five-year compulsory services in Nigeria before being granted full licence to practise, among others.

NARD called on the government to address its demands before the May 29 handover to a new administration, noting that it could not guarantee industrial harmony thereafter.

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