Nigerian medical doctors have opted to embarked on a nationwide strike over the inability of the Federal Government to meet its demands for pay rise, better welfare, and adequate facilities.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) said the government is yet to clear its members’ arrears of 2014, 2015, 2016, and salary shortfalls.
Members of the association represents are said to be about 40 percent of doctors in Nigeria.
NARD president Aliyu Sokomba told AFP “We have kicked off the strike today”, adding that medics treating virus cases would join the action this time around, “there will be no exemptions,” he said.
Sokomba said long-standing issues such as provision of life insurance, a pay rise, payment of salary arrears as well as provision of adequate facilities for doctors were the reasons for the strike.
“We have arrears of 2014, 2015, 2016, salary shortfalls that were supposed to have been paid over six years ago, still pending,” he said.
“These are the issues we have and they appear not to have been addressed up till this day,” he said.
“It is an indefinite strike,” Sokomba said, adding that it would be called off only when the union’s demands were met.
Strikes by medics have been common in Nigeria where the health sector is underfunded.
Abuja Business Reports gathered that the authorities fear any reduction in capacity could severely hamper its ability to tackle the pandemic as the number of cases continues to rise.
In June, NARD staged a week-long strike over welfare and inadequate protective kits but doctors treating virus cases remained on the job, with Nigeria, recording over 55,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,057 deaths as at the weekend.