By Asmau Ahmad
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has explained why it suspended the nationwide strike it embarked upon on July 26, 2023.
NARD President, Dr Emeka Orji explained that the strike was suspended following significant moves made by the Federal Government of Nigeria to address the doctors’ demands.
He further said the National Executive Council of NARD decided to suspend the strike since the government has started addressing some of their issues.
According to him, “We had a meeting at the villa and with the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday, and we saw that they were willing to meet our demands, and for the interest of the people and the country, we have to suspend the strike.
“For now, the government has released the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund and has started work on the circular on a one-for-one replacement because they sent a letter to Chief Medical Directors to provide some documents, and some have sent it the documents required. So, we hope that the one-for-one replacement of doctors will take effect soon.
“The circular on one-for-one replacement would address the manpower shortage and hopefully, this will take effect in the next two weeks.”
The NARD suspended its indefinite strike on Friday night after the NEC deliberated on their demands and the efforts the government are making to meet them.
Hence, doctors were directed to resume on Saturday (today), by 8am, while a review will be made on the progress made in two weeks.
The doctors embarked on an indefinite industrial action on July 26, to press home their demands.
The doctors are demanding the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund; the immediate release of the circular on one-for-one replacement; the payment of skipping arrears; the upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure in line with full salary restoration to the 2014 value of CONMESS; the payment of the arrears of consequential adjustment of minimum to the omitted doctors, the reversal of the downgrading of the membership certificate by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), among others.
Dr Orji had earlier said that the release of the circular for the one-for-one replacement of clinical staff, and the payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund were the minimum conditions to be met to have the strike suspended.