Nigeria Records 407 New COVID-19 Cases As Resident Doctors Resume Strike

A health worker helps his colleague with his PPE during a community testing as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

Nigeria has recorded fresh 407 COVID-19 cases as resident doctors across the country resumed an indefinite, nationwide strike.

According to data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the new cases were recorded on Sunday.

Nigeria has seen a recent uptick in new cases as fears of a third wave, triggered by the Delta variant, looms

The Delta variant is believed to be deadlier and more contagious.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government is expected to take delivery of about 4.8 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines on Monday.

The doses are a donation from the American government, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said on Sunday.

COVID-19 figures

Till date, Nigeria has recorded 174,315 COVID-19 cases, according to official statistics.

Although 165,005 of those cases have been discharged, the disease has contributed to a toll of 2,149.

According to the NCDC, Monday’s 407 cases were reported from 17 states of the federation, including Lagos (160), Akwa Ibom (75), Ondo (51), Abia (33), Oyo (29), Kaduna (18), and Katsina (7).

Others are: Gombe (6), Ogun (6), Ekiti (5), Delta (4), FCT (4), Ebonyi (3), Edo (2), Niger (2), Bayelsa (1), and Nasarawa (1).

‘A total strike’

As case numbers worsen, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) resumed its industrial action on Monday over unpaid salaries and benefits.

They are also demanding the immediate withdrawal of a circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service.

The doctors had embarked on an earlier strike in April, leaving many patients unattended across government-owned hospitals in the country.

The strike was suspended about 10 days later after they met with Federal Government representatives

“The last time we met the Minister of Labour and Minister of Health, we were told that our members are part of those to be given the insurance benefit, but we found out that their names are not even there,” NARD National President, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, said on Saturday.

Strike May Be Called Off On Saturday, Doctors Say After Meeting With FG

Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors met with federal government representatives on April 9, 2021.
Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors met with federal government representatives on April 9, 2021.

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors has said it may call off its strike on Saturday after meeting with federal government representatives in Abuja.

The meeting, which lasted for over six hours, sought to address area of concerns which led to the strike embarked upon by the doctors on April 1.

NARD’s National President, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said the association is satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.

He however said the association cannot call off the strike until consultations are made with its executive council.

READ ALSO: FG Accuses Doctors Of Playing With Lives Of Nigerians

He added that the strike, hopefully, will be called off on Saturday.

After the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said a five-person committee has been set up to look into some of the doctors’ demands.

The committee includes NARD’s National President, Secretary-General of the Nigerian Medical Association, and one representative each from the Ministries of Labour and Health.

The committee is expected to look at the non-payment of House Officers’ salaries within 72 hours and produce a valid list to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), through the Federal Ministry of Health.

On the issue of salary shortfall of resident doctors from 2014 to 2016, Ngige said the meeting resolved that NARD and the Committee of Chief Medical Doctors should immediately submit a list of affected institutions and personnel strength, for it to be captured in the 2021 supplementary budget, with arrears from April 2019 to December 2019, as contained in the memorandum of action.

Similarly, on the issue of hazard allowance, the Minister directed that NARD come up with a position paper which should be submitted at the meeting between the Presidential Committee on Salaries, the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, the Nigeria Medical Association, and the Joint Health Sector Union on April 14 at the Federal Ministry of Labour.

Other issues the meeting considered are abolishment of the bench fees, residency training allowance, group life insurance payment and payment of residents on GIFMIS platform.

Resident Doctors Threaten Strike Action Over COVID-19 Allowance, Other Demands

President of National Association of Resident Doctors, Aliyu Sokomba.
President of National Association of Resident Doctors, Aliyu Sokomba.

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors on Saturday issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government to address some of their pending demands, including the non-payment of COVID-19 inducement allowances.

If the demands are not met by the end of the ultimatum, the doctor’s union threatened to embark on an industrial strike.

The doctors issued the warning at a press briefing in Bauchi after the 40th ordinary general meeting of the association.

One of their demands is the payment of “the recent COVID-19 inducement allowance that was widely speculated to have been paid to Doctors and other health workers,” President of the Association, Aliyu Sokomba, said.

Another is the immediate recall of sacked resident doctors at the Jos University Teaching Hospital and payment of their salaries.

They also want a universal implementation of the Resident Training Act in federal and state Teaching Hospitals while calling on governments at all levels to provide adequate personnel protective equipment for health workers.

Lassa Fever: Doctors Call For Declaration Of National Health Emergency

President of National Association of Resident Doctors, Aliyu Sokomba.
President of National Association of Resident Doctors, Aliyu Sokomba.

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), on Saturday, asked the federal government to declare Lassa fever as a national health emergency. 

The doctors described the current preventive and control measures as “weak”, after the end of their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.

Reports of Lassa fever cases have increased over the past few weeks, resulting in a number of deaths, including that of a 24-year-old pregnant woman in Enugu state.

READ ALSO: Lassa Fever Kills One In Kaduna, Another New Case Confirmed

The doctors also asked the government to re-evaluate hazard allowances for health workers due to the increased risk of dealing with Lassa fever. 

They also decried the non-payment of salary arrears of its members, asking the federal and state governments to pay up to avoid industrial strikes. 

“Our next meeting will be in three months and I believe three months is enough period for any meaningful negotiations,” NARD President, Aliyu Sokomba, said.

Resident Doctors Condemn Suspension Of FMC Umuahia President

Resident Doctors Condemn Suspension Of FMC Umuahia PresidentThe National Association of Resident Doctors, southeast caucus has condemned the suspension of the body’s president at FMC Umuahia, Dr Innocent Orji, from residency training.

Members of the association have described their colleague’s suspension as a grave error that contravenes section (3) of the Public Service Rules of Nigeria.

During a briefing held in Umuahia, the caucus leader, Dr Udu Chijioke, said the association has their reservations about the alleged misconduct committed by their colleague and his subsequent suspension.

They have therefore asked the Federal Ministry of Health and the government of Abia state to compel the hospital’s management to immediately reinstate Dr Orji or face a strike by all public hospitals in the southeast.

Resident Doctors At FMC Lokoja Protest Poor Health Systems

Resident Doctors Threaten To Commence Strike Action In 2017The Association of Resident Doctors, (ARD) in Federal Medical Center, Lokoja, has joined the strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), to register their displeasure with the management of Nigeria’s health system.

Briefing pressmen, the Lokoja ARD President, Dr. Obohwemu Kennedy, said that his members were part and parcel of the NARD and were duty bound to comply with the directive.

The doctors, were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions to press home thier demands from the Federal Government.

On December 19, 2016, NARD gave the Federal Government up to January 2, to implement the National Health Act, 2014, while asking it to also address the lingering issues affecting the health sector, especially as it affects resident doctors.

Explaining further about the reason for the protest, Obohwemu lamented the pitiable state of Nigeria’s health system, citing the need for the Federal Government to urgently intervene and prevent massive exodus of doctors to the outside world for greener pastures.

“Apart from the fact that we are following instructions from our national body, we believe it is time to take the bull by the horn and address these persistent problems once and for all.

“Let the whole world know what resident doctors are going through- Our patients deserve the best of healthcare delivery.

“We cannot do that when we, the healthcare providers, are not in the right frame of mind.

“The medical profession is going through the toughest of times in the recent years, our black jackets and black bands, symbolise the death of our healthcare delivery system.

“We asked for resurrection, a revamping of the system, such that the average Nigerians can confidently access quality healthcare at affordable rates.”

Speaking on behalf of the Medical Director, Dr. Taiwo Olaoluwa who calmed the protesters, said their demands were not out of place.

Although he explained that the hospital was mourning as a result of the death of a Chief Nursing Officer, he then assured them that the Federal Government was working out solutions to their demands.

Resident Doctors Threaten To Commence Strike Action In 2017

Resident Doctors, FMC Owerri, StrikeThe National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), has advised the Federal Government to urgently wade into the lingering crises in the health sector to the avert impending strike by doctors.

NARD issued a three-week strike notice that would lapse on January 2, 2017.

The Public Relations Officer, NARD, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa branch, Dr. Ugoeze Asinobi, said that the doctors had shelved the planned strike three times in the past four months and are bent on going on strike as from January 2.

The doctors are agitating for a uniform template for the Residency Programme, infrastructure for tertiary health facilities, proper grading of doctors and payment of outstanding salaries, among other issues.

According to Asinobi: “We don’t want strike, but we are going to resort to it again.

“The Residency Programme is fundamental to effective health care, given the dearth of manpower as the country has less than 20 per cent of required experts.

“Each time the ultimatum expires, we shift it in the hope that things would be made right within the time given, but it is now obvious the Ministry officials are insincere.

“The issues we go on strike for are always the same issues and we are resolute to withdraw services come January 2, 2017, if our concerns are not addressed.

“One wonders if health ministry officials are sabotaging the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari on purpose, as their brazen and blatant disregard to the most basic institutional needs of the major workhorses of the health sector leaves a lot to be desired.

“Their attitude leaves one bewildered as sabotage appears to be the only logical explanation,” he stated.

Furthermore, he alleged that officials of Federal Ministry of Health are playing politics with the lives of Nigerians as they are insensitive and disconnected from the realities the masses were facing in their daily lives.

“NARD frowns at the wastage in building new primary health centres, rather than rehabilitating, equipping and staffing existing ones with requisite manpower”.

“Resident doctors have always embraced dialogue and discussions in finding lasting solutions, but it is obvious that our commitment to peace and industrial harmony is yet to be reciprocated”.

The P.R.O then appealed to the federal government to wade into the industrial dispute for the overall interest of the welfare of the citizenry.

According to him, executives of NARD remain committed to ending the myriad of incursions adversely affecting the welfare of resident doctors.

Resident Doctors Insist Strike Continues

Resident Doctors, NARDThe National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) insists its strike continues until congress takes decision on the outcome of the meeting with the House of Representatives.

The President of NARD, Dr. Muhammed Askira, made the statement while addressing reporters on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He was reacting to the statement made by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, that both parties had agreed to sheath their swords after Tuesday’s meeting with the lawmakers.

“If you interpret the statement of the Minister to mean that the strike is over, then you are wrong,” the medic said.

Dr. Askira commended the lawmakers for their intervention on the lingering issues between NARD and the government.

He explained that the organ of the association that declared the strike would have to meet on Friday before any decision on whether or not to call off the strike.

This comes just as the Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College, Professor Oluwole Atoyebi, said the Nigerian government has not sacked any doctor from Federal Tertiary Health Institutions.Prof_Atoyebi

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Professor Atoyebi said: “while the resident doctors have been told to suspend the strike, the Ministry has been told by the Speaker ((of the House of Representatives) to rest the directive, for now, and that has been agreed by all parties”.

House Of Reps Hopeful Of Imminent End To Doctors Strike

Resident DoctorsThe House of Representatives in Nigeria is hopeful that the industrial action embarked on by the National Association of Resident Doctors will be called off in the next few days.

Lawmakers are intervening in the faceoff between the representatives of the Ministry of Health and the leaders of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

Their intervention appears to have been productive, with the Chairman of the House Committee on Health Institutions, Betty Apiafi, seeing a possible resolution in coming days.

The lawmakers expressed their confidence on Tuesday after a five-hour meeting convened by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, with a Federal Government delegation and leaders of the NARD.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, told reporters that they had agreed to sheath their swords in the interest of Nigerians.

The President of the NARD, Muhammed Askira, however, said the strike had not been put off yet.

This is coming just as the Federal Government has asked heads of Government Tertiary Health Institutions to replace doctors that have abandoned their duties in protest of what they called poor welfare.

Residents doctors at the Federal Government’s institutions have downed tools after the association asked them to stay away from work in protest of poor welfare.

Resident Doctors’ Strike Paralyses Activities At OAUTH

Resident Doctors, OAUTHResident doctors at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) in Ile-Ife, Osun State have withdrawn their services to patients in the hospital.

As the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarks on an indefinite strike on Monday to press home its demands for welfare related issues, offices were under lock and key, with empty bed spaces seen at different wards at the hospital.

Many of the patients who visited OAUTH for medical attention were left unattended to as only the consultant doctors and nurses were seen around the teaching hospital.

The President of NARD, OAUTH chapter, Dr. Wole Ayegbusi, said the indefinite industrial action became a last resort for the doctors across Nigeria, following the breakdown of negotiations with the government and stakeholders in the health sector.

He said issues of unpaid salaries, unjustified sack and poor welfare of resident doctors in Federal and State government-owned hospitals formed part of the demands being made by the medics.

Rise In Rivers Local Gin Intake Deaths Worries Doctors

local gin OgogoroDoctors in Rivers State are worried, as the number of deaths caused by the consumption of  locally brewed gin known as Ogogoro has now reached 66. 

The Ministry of Health in the State gave the new figures on Friday, days after the first death was recorded.

The Ministry noted that deaths have so far been recorded in Obio Akpor, Bonny and Gokana Local Government Areas.

The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) in a press briefing in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State’s capital, has step up stringent measures that will curtail the production and distribution of what the group called a deadly poison.

The National President of NARD, Prince Dan-Jumbo, at the press briefing urged State governments that are yet to pay their members monthly salaries form 5-7 months to do so.

According to him, Oyo, Osun, Benue, Nassarawa, Imo, Abia and Lagos State are owing 2013 and 2014 months salaries while and Rivers State had two months outstanding.

Meanwhile, the level of compliance to the ban on the sale of the local gin is still in question, as some peddlers of the product are still sighted on the street.

Resident Doctors Ask Government To Lift Embargo On Employment

doctorsThe National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has pleaded with the Nigerian government to lift the embargo on employment of its members that has been on for over three years.

On Tuesday, the doctors expressed displeasure with the embargo placed on the employment of its members in both the State and Federal Government Hospitals.

The plea was made by the National President of the Group, Prince Dan-Jumbo at a brief in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital in Rivers State.

Apparently worried by the state of affairs in the Health Sector, the NARD President queried the personnel funds that run into billions released to the Federal Ministry of Health when resident Doctors are not being employed, calling on the President-elect, General Mohammadu Buhari, to look into the plight of the Health Workers and residency programmes in the country, to avert any possible crisis in the sector.

The group (NARD) also frowned at the non payment of the wages of its members in Kogi, Benue, Edo and Lagos States, appealing to the various State Governments to fulfill their obligations to the Doctors and to take health matters more seriously.