Just In: Resident Doctors Suspend Nationwide Strike
NARD has also instructed health workers to resume operations at 8am on Friday, September 11, AIT News reports.
It would be recalled that the union embarked on the strike on Monday, September 7 due to the failure of the government to meet their requests made in June this year.
The doctors had in June downed tools over unpaid salaries, non-payment of hazard allowance, and a dearth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals, among several other reasons.
The one-week-long strike was however suspended to give the federal and state governments time to fulfil the outstanding demands following an appeal by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi and other stakeholders.
Read Also: Resident Doctors Suspend Nationwide Strike
However, based on unsuitable response from the Federal Government, NARD embarked on another strike on Monday which has now been suspended.
The President of NARD, Dr Aliyu Sokumba, confirmed the suspension of the strike this evening. The suspension comes after the Federal Government and the doctors reached an agreement at a meeting presided over by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in Abuja today.
At the meeting, the FG made it known that it had paid N9.3bn to insurance companies for Life Group Insurance and payment of death benefits for health workers, adding that enrolment was by the submission of nominal rolls by the various health institutions, which NARD had been mandated at a previous meeting to accomplish.
On the payment of outstanding 2014, 2015, and 2016 arrears, the meeting recalled that it had been agreed that the issue would be further discussed post-COVID-19; therefore, no agreement was breached.
It was further agreed that discussions for review of a Permanent Hazard Allowance for all health workers would commence as soon as possible after consultations by the Minister of Labour and Employment with all stakeholders in the health sector is concluded.
The suspension comes a day after Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire instructed Federal Government hospitals to replace striking health workers with doctors undergoing mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) initiative.
In a statement released today Wednesday, September 9, Ehanire said the strike embarked by the doctors at a time when the country was battling the COVID-19 pandemic is ill-timed and ill-advised.
IT IS WITH DEEP CONCERN THAT L VIEW THE ONGOING STRIKE BY THE NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENT DOCTORS WHICH COMMENCED YESTERDAY (TUESDAY) SEPTEMBER 7, 2020.
WE MUST REMEMBER THAT THE PRIMARY DUTY OF DOCTORS AND ALL HEALTH WORKERS IS TO SAVE LIVES. EMBARKING ON A STRIKE IN THIS TIME THAT THE COUNTRY IS BATTLING WITH THE COVLD-19 PANDEMIC IS ILL-TIMED AND ILL-ADVISED.
Ehanire then called on the striking resident doctors to return to work, saying;
I CALL ON THE NARD TO RETURN TO WORK AND ENGAGE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN COMPLETING THE ONGOING DUE PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING THE MOU BETWEEN NARD AND GOVERNMENT.
I WISH TO ASSURE THE GENERAL PUBLIC THAT MEASURES HAVE BEEN PUT IN PLACE TO ENSURE THAT THEY CONTINUE TO ACCESS SERVICES AT ALL OUR FEDERAL TERTIARY HOSPITALS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.