Resident doctors begin indefinite strike over PPEs, Jos sacking

The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria on Monday commenced a nationwide strike after the expiration of its 14-day ultimatum.

The NARD President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, had in a communiqué on Monday directed all resident doctors to embark on an indefinite strike after the expiration of the ultimatum.

The doctors went on strike over the inadequate Personal Protective Equipment for all health care workers and the sacking of  26 resident doctors in the Jos University Teaching Hospital, among other issues.

The Lagos University Teaching Hospital ARD President, Dr Judith Jolayemi, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said members of the association have complied with the directive from the National President.

“The strike is going on, all our members have stopped working except those involved in COVID-19 treatment,” she said.

The Lagos University Teaching Hospital ARD President, Dr Itohan Oaku, also said there was 100 per cent compliance from the resident doctors in the hospital.

The resident doctors in Gombe State also joined the industrial action.

The state president of the association, Dr Nuhu James, said members working in the various isolation centres were exempted from the strike.

The acting Chief Medical Director of the Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe, Dr Sule Bathnna, said the hospital was currently running skeletal service due to the doctors’ strike.

He said, “Resident doctors are key members of the hospital who are a good component for optimal running of services in the hospital. We have just had a meeting with heads of department to see where we can bridge the gap using those available to provide skeletal services.”

The doctors at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital also joined their counterparts on Monday.

The President of the ARD, UITH chapter, Dr Lanre Olosunde, said, “Despite the obvious insensitivity of the government to the legitimate demands of doctors who have been sacrificing their lives at the forefront in the battle against COVID-19, we decided to exempt doctors that are currently attending to patients with COVID-19 at the various treatment centres across the nation.”

We won’t join strike –Rivers resident doctors

However, the resident doctors at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital said on Monday that they would not join the strike, citing the negative impact it might have on the management of COVID-19.

The President of the ARD,UPTH, Dr Ameh Ameh, said, “We have decided that for now, we will not be embarking on the nationwide strike because it would be counterproductive to Rivers residents. We realised that all health workers are playing an essential role in helping to stem the tide of COVID-19 and to reduce the impact in the country.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said it was attending to the grievances of the National Association of Resident Doctors and hoped that the issues would be resolved soon.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said this while answering questions from journalists during the press conference by the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19.

He said, “Today (Monday), we already had a meeting with the chairman, House of Representatives Committee (on Health) with NARD leadership in attendance. We were able to clarify many of the issues that they have been raising.

“I also did request that this is not the time to go on strike, not when we have a very difficult situation (COVID – 19) on our hands and did request for them to show enough empathy as we can make a headway working on these demands and should not down tools because the lives that may be lost in that process are not replaceable.”

Also, a statement by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, read in part, “The Speaker appealed to them to call off the strike…. He also called on them to consider the plight of average Nigerians as they consider shifting their position.”

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