Court Orders Resident Doctors To End Strike

File photo of a team of Doctors carrying out surgery on a patient.

 

The National Industrial Court in Abuja has ordered members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to immediately end their industrial action which started on September 7, 2020.

Justice Ibrahim Galadima issued the order in a ruling on an ex-parte application filed by two civil society groups, the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, and the Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture.

Joined as respondents in the suit marked, NICN/ABJ/124/2020, are NARD, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; and the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige.

READ ALSO: Soku Oil Wells: Bayelsa Govt Drags FG, Akwa Ibom To Supreme Court

Ruling on the application, Justice Galadima upheld the plaintiff’s lawyer, Frank Tietie’s arguments, and ordered NARD members to immediately end the strike action.

Justice Galadima then ordered the resident doctors to immediately resume their duties pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already fixed for October 8.

Resident Doctors Reach Agreement With FG

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), on Wednesday, reached an agreement with the Federal Government, over its ongoing strike.

At a meeting which lasted almost the entire day, the association said it will consult its executive council within the next 24 hours, with a view to calling off the strike by Thursday.

Both parties had been locked in negotiations to resolve issues that led to the declaration of a nationwide strike on Monday.

Some of the issues revolved around the provision of group life insurance for doctors and other Health Care Workers, payment of death-in-service benefit to next of kin/beneficiaries, Universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State, immediate review of the Hazard Allowance of Health Care Workers and payment of the Covid-19 Inducement Allowance.

But the Federal Government noted that eight of the demands made by NARD had been addressed and the remaining two were in different stages of being resolved.

After extensive deliberations, however, both parties reached several agreements.

They agreed that the Hospitals and Isolation Centres now have sufficient Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

They also agreed that the Federal Government had paid the total sum of Nine Billion Three Hundred Million Naira (N9.3billion) to Insurance Companies for Life Group Insurance and payment of death benefits for health workers.

On the implementation of the payment of the special hazard/inducement allowance, the doctors said they were satisfied that the N20 billion already appropriated in the 2020 COVID-19 Budget has been exhausted to N19 billion and therefore, praised the Federal Government and the President for approving an additional (N8,901,231,773.55) to pay up the large chunk of the June 2020 COVID-19 allowance to all Medical Health Workers.

Among several other agreements, it was also agreed upon that nobody will be victimized for any activity connected with or for participating in the industrial action.

See the full list of deliberations below.

UNDERSTANDING REACHED AT THE END OF THE MEETING BETWEEN THE LEADERSHIP OF THE NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENT DOCTORS (NARD) AND FEDERAL MINISTRIES OF HEALTH, FINANCE, BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING, AND NATIONAL SALARIES, INCOME AND WAGES COMMISSION (NSIWC) AT THE INSTANCE OF THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT ON SEPTEMBER 9, 202O.

On September 7, 2020, the members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on a total and an indefinite strike in all Federal and State hospitals in Nigeria over the following demands:
i. The provision of group life insurance for doctors and other Health Care Workers and payment of death-in-service benefit to next of kin/beneficiaries.
ii. Universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State.
iii. Immediate review of the Hazard Allowance of Health Care Workers and payment of the Covid-19 Inducement Allowance as agreed during the stakeholders’ meeting.
iv. Immediate release of funds for Medical Residency Training for 2020 as captured in the revised Appropriation Bill.
v. Payment of all owed arrears of the Consequential Adjustment of the National Minimum Wage to her members, and implementation of such in States Tertiary Health Institutions.

In line with the provisions of the Trade Disputes Act, CAP T.8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment held a conciliation meeting with the leadership of NARD and relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to address the demands and resolve the trade dispute.

The meeting noted that the Federal Government had earlier addressed most of the original eight (8) demands made by NARD and the remaining two (2) were in different stages of being resolved.

After extensive deliberations, the following understandings were reached on each of the demands:

1) Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
NARD agreed that the Hospitals and Isolation Centres now have sufficient PPE

2) The provision of group life insurance for doctors and other Health Care Workers and payment of death-in-service benefit to next of kin/beneficiaries:

The meeting noted that the Federal Government had paid the total sum of Nine Billion Three Hundred Million Naira (N9B,3) to Insurance Companies for Life Group Insurance and payment of death benefits for Health Workers.

Enrollment was by the submission of nominal rolls by the various Health Institutions which NARD had been mandated at previous meeting to accomplish. The meeting further noted that claims had to be made before the Insurance benefits could be realised.

It was decided that NARD should submit copies of claims already made to the Insurance Companies through the Hospitals to the Federal Ministry of Health for onward transmission to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation that would ensure that the Insurance Companies pay the claims. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment should be copied.

3) Universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State Hospitals
Noting that the 2020 Appropriation Act was revised due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Four Billion Naira (N4B) appropriated for Residency Training under a wrong heading for Medical Residency Training is to be vired before expenditure. The process of amendment is therefore ongoing and is expected that this process and cash backing will be through in two (2) weeks.

4) 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.

5) Implementation of the Payment of the Special Hazard/Inducement Allowance

Meeting was satisfied that the N20B already appropriated in 2020 Covid-19 Budget has been exhausted to N19B and praised the Federal Government and Mr. President for approving additional N8,901,231,773.55 to pay up the large chunk of the June 2020 Covid-19 allowance to all Medical Health Workers. This has been cash backed and the mandate sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria for payments to start with effect from today September 9, 2020. This would bring the total disbursement to about N28B.

6) Permanent New Rate Of Hazard Allowance:

Discussions for review of a Permanent Hazard Allowance for all Health Workers will commence as soon as possible after consultations by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment with all Stakeholders in the Health Sector. Based on the principles of ability to pay, this will cover all Health Workers in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Meeting will be convened as soon as possible in that regard.

7) Payment of all owed arrears of the Consequential Adjustment of the National Minimum Wage to her members, and implementation of such in States Tertiary Health Institutions:

It was noted that those affected were the Youth Corp Members and House Officers who are regarded as ad hoc staff. For State Hospitals, the Federal Government can only be persuasive. It was recalled that NARD had been assigned the responsibility to submit a list from the defaulting hospitals to the Federal Ministry of Health for onward transmission to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

8) Domestication of the Residency Training Act by State Governments:

Recognizing the Autonomy of States within the Federation, the meeting agreed that the issue would be tabled at the National Economic Council and National Council of Health to persuade the States to domesticate the Act.

9) Health Workers in the Medical Centers attached to Universities:

The meeting agreed that these workers had been tied with the ongoing strike by ASUU and negotiations concerning them would be on a different platform involving Federal Ministry of Education.

In view of these Understandings, NARD will consult with her Executive Council within the next 24hrs with a view to calling off the strike by tomorrow, September 10, 2020.

Nobody will be victimized for any activity connected with or for participating in the industrial action

……………………………….. ………………………………
Dr. Sokomba Aliyu Dr. Bilqis Muhammad
President, NARD Sec. Gen., NARD

………………………………… ………………………………….
Dr. Ekpe Philips Uche Ahmed Idris , FCNA
Secretary General, NMA Accountant General of the Federation

…………………………………………….. …………………………………
A. M. Abdullahi Dr. Yerima P. Tarfa
PS, Health PS, Labour & Employment

………………………………. …………………………
Sen. (Dr.) A. O. Mamora Barr. Festus Keyamo, SAN
HMS, Health HMS, Labour & Employment
………………………………………..
Senator (Dr,) Chris Nwabueze Ngige, OON
Honourable Minister, Labour & Employment

Nationwide Strike: Resident Doctors Demand Payment Of Outstanding Allowances

 

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors on Tuesday embarked on a nationwide strike citing the inability of relevant government authorities to meet their demands

At the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, in Abia State, services were going on skeletally due to the strike action by resident doctors.

According to the President of the Association at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, Dr Emeka Onuh, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the demands of workers are met and a failure to do that is what has resulted in the strike action.

He hinted that arrears of allowances owed to them have forced them to down tools with the hope that government would relent and do the needful by paying up especially arrears of hazard allowances.

“We still have the issue of hazard allowances which we have been hampering on all these months. The payment for the month of April and May, only a few were able to receive it while others are still waiting, not to mention that of June,” Onuh said.

“Also, the issue of Personal Protective Equipment for our members and health workers who are in the frontline is still not adequate irrespective of what government is saying, and the situation of our colleagues in state teaching hospitals, what they are going home with is not commemorating with their status and level of work they put in so, one of the demands of the National body is for the state government to do the needful by paying them at least what is equal to what the Federal Government is paying.

“This is second year running, and the promise we had even before we embarked on the first strike is that all the demands have been captured in the 2020 revised budget, but as I speak to you, nothing has been implemented”.

Ngige Asks Resident Doctors To End Strike, Embrace Dialogue

A photo combination of the logo of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has asked the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), to end the ongoing strike which they kick-started on Monday.

The resident doctors issued a nationwide strike ultimatum to press on eight demands centred on a pay rise, adequate facilities, and better welfare packages.

According to Mr Ngige, in a statement on Monday, the resident doctors should embrace dialogue to resolve outstanding issues with the Federal Government.

The Minister, who listed the efforts by the Federal Government, maintained that six of the demands have already addressed.

“Recall that most of the issues listed in the demands are issues that have been under Conciliation since May 2020 that resulted in their strike in June 2019.

“The NARD leadership in three conciliatory meetings with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) leadership in attendance can attest that out of the eight (8) demands listed after their Bauchi NEC meeting, the Federal Government via the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMoFB&NP) has already addressed about six of the demands comprehensively and satisfactorily.”

RELATED: Resident Doctors Begin Indefinite Nationwide Strike

Mr Ngige stressed that despite the economic challenges facing the country, and a revenue shortfall, the government has been able to spend N20 billion on health workers between April and June this year.

“Even with the lean resources available due to the COVID-19 effect on oil output and price resulting in low revenue, the Federal Government has addressed the COVID-19 Special Hazard and Inducement Allowances for Medical and Health Workers to the extent that as of today, N20 billion has been expended by the FMoH and FMoF&NP on this allowance for April, May, and June 2020 with very little grey areas of outstanding payments to some Health Workers for June 2020.”

The Minister noted that “the issue of Group Life Insurance for Medical  and Health Workers were also dealt with fully with the Office of the Head of Service passing the records to both NARD and FMoH, to pass on to their medical doctors and other health workers to make appropriate claims when necessary, with the details of the 13 Leading Insurance companies and brokers, an exercise  that cost the Federal Government N9.3 billion as a premium to run from the COVID-19 period of March 2020 to March 2021.”

He stated that the life insurance covers both Health professionals and workers, and all federal civil servants and public servants in federal organisations.

Similarly, Mr Ngige said that the Federal Government also appropriated the sum of N4 billion from the Special Intervention COVID-19 N500 billion 2020 Appropriation, for funding of Medical Residency Training and with intent to do the same in the ongoing 2021 Budget to be submitted to NASS for consideration. He added that the N4 billion has been processed for payment.

“Other issues like the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital right between NARD and the authorities were addressed while old issues not related to the COVID-19 period and issues of State Governments not addressing the Consequential Minimum Wage Adjustments, and low patronage of Residency programme are work in progress.”

The Minister asked the union not to throw caution to the wind by ignoring the case before the National Industrial Court.

He stated that the interlocutory injunction against further strike actions by NARD, which was gotten by the Citizens Advocacy for Social Rights (CASER) and Association of Women in Trading and Agriculture (AWITA) is still valid and the union should respect the Country’s Laws and withdraw the September 7 strike ultimatum.

Meanwhile, the Minister fixed Wednesday, September 9 to reconvene the ongoing conciliation meeting between NARD, the Federal Ministry of Health, and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

FCT Resident Doctors Embark On Indefinite Strike Over Hazard Allowance

Logo of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have embarked on an indefinite strike in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Channels Television learned that the decision of the medical practitioners to down over the non-payment of COVID-19 hazard allowances and other related inducements promised by the government.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the NARD President (FCT Chapter), Roland Aigbovo, the industrial action became imperative after several failed attempts to resolve the impasse.

“The congress observes with dismay that despite timelines and promises made to pay the COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowance within the period of the issued ultimatum, the allowance is still yet to be paid to health care workers in the various FCT Hospitals and the COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres thereby negating the positive gains already achieved.

“As an association, we believe in dialogue as a means of dispute resolution and we have always stood by this principle in all our dealings with the FCTA management even in the face of financial burden but we note with dismay the care free approach exhibited by the office of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory in handling this issue,” Aigbovo said.

According to the doctors, they will only get back to work after the various payments demanded are made to their members’ accounts.

The FCT has over 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, second to Lagos State in the list of high burdened states and cities.

NGF To Engage Resident Doctors Over Planned Strike

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja

 

 

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has revealed plans to engage leaders of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors, (NARD) over its planned industrial action.

The decision formed part of the communique issued at the end of the virtual meeting of the governors on Wednesday where they deliberated on a number of national issues including the COVID-19 pandemic.

NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi said among other things the forum will work our modalities to reach a truce with the resident doctors to avert another crisis in the health sector.

He explained that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education is also facilitating access to unrealized funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) fund while also waiting for an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from states in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on state finances.

He added that testing remains the number one priority for the government while 29 states have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19.

Read Full Statement Below:

ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 15th TELECONFERENCE MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 19th AUGUST 2020
We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NGF Chairman provided an update on the following:

Discussions are ongoing with the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education to facilitate access to unrealized funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund. The Forum is also awaiting an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from States in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on State finances.

29 States have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19. Testing remains the number one priority for the government. 32 States in the country now have molecular laboratories while investments are being directed to the remaining 4 States.

Data from COVID-19 tests conducted in the country show that 20 local government areas in the country account for 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded. In light of this, all State governments will be required to scale up risk communications campaigns in these areas through State and local structures.

The NEC Security Ad-Hoc Committee comprising the Governors of Ekiti, Katsina, Borno, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Kogi, and Lagos met with Mr. President on 11th August 2020 to present the concerns of governors on the security situation in the country. At the meeting, the President called for better inter-service coordination and assured governors that necessary security equipment was being provided to the security agencies.

The Forum also received updates from the following:
The Forum received an update from H.E Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who’s leading the NGF Committee interfacing with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation on the implementation of Executive Order 10. The Committee is currently working on a template acceptable to all parties for the implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary.

The NGF HelpDesk Programme Manager, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajogbasile provided an update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme. The NGF in collaboration with the World Bank has negotiated a flexible payment term for the acquisition of a Software as a Service (SaaS) e-procurement solution for all States in the country. States can now make 30% advance payment for the solution after signing the framework contract. The software which is aimed at improving public procurement in the country has many advantages over traditional models of business software installation including lower upfront cost, quick set up and deployment, easy upgrade, accessibility and scalability.

States were also encouraged to publish a Consolidated Revenue Code, Public Procurement Law and Debt Management Law on or before 30th September 2020 to be assessed under the SFTAS 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA)

Thereafter, members of the Forum resolved as follows:

Scale up the implementation of the Risk Communications Community Engagement (RCCE) strategy developed by the Presidential Task on COVID-19. The strategy will provide the necessary impetus on communicating with the public so that communities can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a sustainable approach. State governments will also be able to identify and engage with all the relevant multisectoral partners as the success of this strategy. Commissioners of information are to head this exercise nationwide.

The Forum will continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing the UBE Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund based on the recommendations of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

State governments will continue to provide appropriate support to the independent verification teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) who are currently in States to conduct the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment for the SFTAS programme.

The States are to engage the officials of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors NARD in order to forestall their intention to embark on industrial action.

FG, Resident Doctors Meet Over Planned Strike

The National President of NARD, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, led the resident doctors to the meeting.

 

The Federal Government has met with the leadership of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) over the planned industrial action of the medical practitioners.

The conciliation meeting which held on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital ended with high expectations that the planned strike would be shelved.

At the discussion, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who convened the meeting gave an assurance that the government would address the issues raised by the doctors.

This comes two days after the resident doctors issued a three-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to address the issues raised by the union or risk a nationwide strike.

The demands include the doctors’ welfare, the residency training programme, and the poor state of infrastructure in government hospitals.

Government officials also at the meeting include the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo.

Governors Intervene In Doctors’ Strike, Promise To Resolve Grievances

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

 

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has intervened in the ongoing nationwide strike by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

Following a meeting between the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, and the leadership of the association.

The spokesperson for the NGF Secretariat, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.

He noted that it was the first time the doctors would seek the governors’ intervention, adding that the NGF governor urged them to call off the strike.

READ ALSO: Resident Doctors Embark On Indefinite Strike

According to Bello-Barkindo, the NARD representatives promised to meet with other executive members of the association and await the action of the NGF on the issues raised.

He added that at the end of the meeting, NARD President reached out to the secretariat that the doctors have agreed to “call off the strike” to allow the governors to address their complaints.

The doctors embarked on the industrial action on Monday but exempted their colleagues working in various coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation and treatment centres across the country, to join them after two weeks.

Among other demands, they asked the government to provide protective equipment for all healthcare workers and immediately reverse the disengagement of all 26 resident doctors at the University Teaching Hospital in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

Read the full statement by Bello-Barkindo below:

It was the very first time that NARD would be putting their grievances before the Forum.

After listening to them, the NGF Chairman reminded the NARD executives of their Hippocratic oath and admonished them to always bring their conscience to the fore “because when you strike, it is not the men in power that suffer but the common man on the streets.”

Dr Fayemi commended them for remaining in the country to serve in spite of the abundant opportunities and lucrative offers that await them abroad.

However, Dr Fayemi also reminded them that government has always invested huge sums of money to train them and it would amount to a disservice to their fatherland to flee the country without giving their services in return.

Dr Fayemi appealed to the NARD to call off the strike promising that the NGF would sit in a week’s time and consider their grievances along with all the other members of the Forum, with a view to finding a lasting solution to those of their problems that are immediately possible for the Forum to tackle.

The doctors, led by their president, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, and their National Secretary Dr Bilkisu, left the NGF Secretariat with a promise to consult the membership of their association to prevail on them to put their faith in the NGF and await the action of the governors on the matter.

It is on that basis that the President reached out to the DG of the NGF this evening as they close the NARD meeting to announce that they are calling off the strike to allow the governors to address their complaints.

Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo

Head, Media, and Public Affairs

Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat

Meeting Between FG, Resident Doctors Ends In Deadlock

 

The meeting between the Federal Government delegation and the National Association of Resident Doctors on Tuesday ended in a deadlock.

The striking doctors refused to reconvene after a brief recess and their president, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, told Channels Television that they are not ready to shift position until their demands are met.

However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige insists that the meeting was successful, as most of the demands are being resolved

He later noted that the representatives of the striking doctors have informed them that their members do not agree with the resolutions from the meeting so far, and as such cannot call off the strike until some tangible evidence of commitment from the government is received.

Also speaking, the Minister of Health says the government has the obligation to protect the health of citizens, and since the doctors are not ready to resume, certain steps must be taken.

He also noted that a circular has been sent out to all government hospitals to open a register from Wednesday, to take note of doctors that will resume for work.

The register closes by 12:00 pm.

Read Also: Gbajabiamila Urges Resident Doctors To Reconsider Strike Action

This comes days after the doctors embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike.

According to Sokomba, the union took the decision to go on strike as a result of the failed series of meetings between the doctors and the Federal Government in the last two weeks.

He said the meetings have failed to resolve the lingering industrial disputes which include the non-payment of special allowances for the resident doctors.

He also decried the deplorable state of hospitals and the lack of protective equipment for members of the union treating COVID-19 patients.

Dr Sokomba added that this has exposed many of their colleagues to coronavirus and resulted in the death of some of them.

COVID-19: Govt Has Refused To Provide Necessary Equipment – Resident Doctors

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has accused the Federal and State governments of failing to protect its members on the frontline.

NARD Publicity Secretary, Dr Stanley Egbogu, made the allegation during his appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

“On May 30, 2020, we issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government that elapsed on June 13 and after the expiration of the ultimatum, the government could not respond to most of the demands the association made and we had a meeting on June 14,” he said.

Egbogu added, “We looked at the responses from the government and we noted that most of our challenges have not been resolved – the lack of provision of personal protective equipment to our members, and the lack of insurance cover for our members that are working in different hospitals.”

The association spokesman was reacting to the comments by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on why the doctors went on strike.

According to him, the government has made a series of promises to the doctors such as allowances and insurance cover, but it has yet to implement any of them.

Egbogu said the reasons given by the minister on why the doctors went on strike were not true, stressing that they were far from the truth.

He insisted that the failure of the government at the federal and state government levels to provide necessary equipment has exposed the health workers to the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The medical doctor said, “I want to debunk the statement made by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, where he stated that the reason why resident doctors went on strike was because of COVID-19 inducement allowance; that is not true.

“We went on strike because we don’t have the necessary equipment to work. Both the Federal and the state governments have refused to give us the necessary equipment to work.”

“As I speak to you now, over 200 of our members have been infected with coronavirus disease and over 10 of them have actually died from this disease and that is not acceptable to us. How do you go to war with empty hands?

“So, these are the things we looked at and as an association, we decided we cannot continue that way; we decided to take the decision of proceeding on an indefinite strike on June 15, 2020,” he added.

Resident Doctors Embark On Indefinite Strike

A file photo of a health official helping his colleague with his PPE.

 

 

Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike.

NARD President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, announced this while addressing a press conference on Monday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He noted that the union has decided to exempt its members working in various coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation and treatment centres across the country.

This followed the virtual extra-ordinary National Executive Council meeting of the association held on Sunday.

Dr Sokomba, however, stated that exemption of the members attending to COVID-19 patients was for two weeks before they join the industrial action.

He explained that the union took the decision to go on strike as a result of the failed series of meetings between the doctors and the Federal Government in the last two weeks.

According to the NARD president, the meetings have failed to resolve the lingering industrial disputes which include the non-payment of special allowances for the resident doctors.

He also decried the deplorable state of hospitals and the lack of protective equipment for members of the union treating COVID-19 patients.

Dr Sokomba added that this has exposed many of their colleagues to coronavirus and resulted in the death of some of them.

The doctors embark on the industrial action after they warned last week that they would take what they described as “the painful decision” following the inability of the government to meet their demands.

All resident doctors, medical officers below the rank of Principal Medical Officer (PMO), and House Officers across all the Federal and State Hospitals in Nigeria are expected to join the strike.

The association asked the government to make alternative arrangements for the care of patients, including those at the COVID-19 isolation centres as its members there would join the industrial action in two weeks’ time.

Its demands include the provision of adequate PPE for all healthcare workers and immediate reversal of the disengagement of all 26 resident doctors at the University Teaching Hospital in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

Others are the universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State Hospitals and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal cadre.

The doctors also asked the government to implement the revised hazard and payment of agreed COVID-19 inducement allowances, as well as stop and immediately refund all cuts in salaries of their colleagues in Kaduna and other states.

COVID-19: Resident Doctors Kick Against FG’s Plan To Invite Chinese Medical Experts

File photo of medical personnel. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

 

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has kicked against a plan by the Federal Government to invite an 18-man Chinese team of medical experts including doctors, nurses and those with sundry expertise to assist Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

President of the association, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, in a statement made available to Channels Television, advised the Federal government to shelve the Plan of inviting the Chinese Medical team rather, and immediately engage all key relevant Nigerian medical experts including NARD and present the full intents and purpose of the planned importation of the Chinese experts for full evaluation, cost-benefit analysis and consensus on the best option.

He also noted that inviting the Chinese medical experts will amount the Federal Government to be championing “illegality”, as all doctors coming into Nigeria are supposed to be licensed by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

Sokomba, therefore, noted that the Chinese medical experts have not been licensed to perform any job in the country.

Read Also: COVID-19: Six Most Important Things Health Minister Said On Friday

“The attempt to import Human resources for Health from China into Nigeria where many qualified medical doctors and other cadres of health workers are yet to be gainfully employed is the height of insensitivity and disservice on the part of the Federal Government and their advisers.

“The challenge at hand would have been sufficient marker to agitate the FG to the direction and timing for massive employment of medical and other health care workers to provide enough hands in the industry to battle the COVID 19 as other nations are doing”.

The Minister for Health, Osagie Ohanire had on Friday stated that China is sending in more kits as well as doctors to support the government’s efforts in the fight against the virus.

“I have been notified of gifts of medical supplies from China, courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working here in Nigeria. A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items which include commodities, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and ventilators,” he said during the briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, adding that “Of great interest is that an 18-man team of medical experts, including doctors, nurses and public health advisers shall come along with the flight to assist us”.

The resident doctors, however, say they have distanced themselves from the plan.

“In the interim, NARD wishes to distance herself from the planned importation of Chinese medical experts to Nigeria in whatever guise or hood for the reasons presented in this write-up and many more,” Sokomba stated.

“NARD shall not contemplate further warning to distance herself from the Chinese adventure by way of withdrawing all her members from every public health facility in Nigeria so that the anticipated downturn in the output of Nigeria’s healthcare service delivery can be properly situated and traceable to the Chinese as is the case today in Italy.

“NARD hereby reiterates her position which was canvased earlier in the week for the FG to immediately and massively employ all qualified but unemployed doctors and other healthcare workers. Get them trained, insured, motivated and deployed nationwide”.