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Resident Doctors vow to continue strike action, elect new executives

By Chukwuma Muanya
26 September 2021   |   4:07 am
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has vowed to continue its eight-week old strike action, just as its new executives were elected, yesterday, in Bauchi.

• Decry Acute Shortage Of Manpower In Tertiary Health Institutions, Attendant Burnout
• Fault N5,000 Monthly Hazard Allowance, Non-payment Of Life Insurance Benefits

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has vowed to continue its eight-week old strike action, just as its new executives were elected, yesterday, in Bauchi.

NARD, in a communiqué, yesterday, at the end of its 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference, held at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi State, tagged “The NARD Agenda, Bauchi 2021” with the theme: ‘Beyond Paying Lip Service: Strategic Options For Reversing Medical Tourism In Nigeria’, faulted the Federal Government for taking NARD to court, due to the ongoing strike meant to demand improvement in members’ welfare.

The body lamented the acute manpower shortage in most tertiary health institutions and the attendant burnout effects on its members. It noted with serious concerns that the situation is worsened by the ongoing deadly brain drain, decimating the nation’s health care system.

The communiqué noted with that despite several meetings with the presidential committee on salaries and other top government stakeholders on the review of hazard allowance for health workers, the allowance still remains a paltry N5,000.

It also noted the non-payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance to some of its members in federal and state tertiary institutions.

After critical appraisal of the performances of both federal and state governments on all the issues that led to the ongoing strike, the AGM unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action, until the minimum demands are met.

The AGM, in particular, demanded that for normalcy to return to the health sector, the FG should ensure: Payment of medical residency training within 72 hours, since the money meant for it is available and verification of the list for payment has been completed; Payment of the arrears of salaries of members on GIFMIS platform within 72 hours, while the migration process continues; Withdrawal of the case against NARD in court in the interest of peace; and Payment of withheld August and September salaries.

NARD urged FG to prevail on various state governments to urgently pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed members in state tertiary health institutions.

The AGM also urged the Federal Government to consider universal implementation of the MRTA in all training institutions in the country.

IT reiterated unequivocally that resident doctors are committed to the smooth running of the health sector, however, they can only do so, when their welfare is given desired attention.

They, therefore, called on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on government to set aside all technicalities, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, and resolve the aforementioned demands in the interest of the masses and members, who are currently suffering because of the industrial action. 

Meanwhile, sequel to free and fair electoral process, the following members of the association were elected and sworn in as the national officers committee members for the 2021-2022 executive year: President- Dr. Dare Godiya Ishaya; 1st Vice President- Dr Edoga Chima; 2nd Vice President – Dr Buba Ibrahim Babangida; Secretary General- Dr Suleiman Abiodun Isma’il; Assistance Secretary General- Dr Anenga Ushakuma; Financial Secretary- Dr Abdulraheem Olayinka; Treasurer- Dr Muhammad Sani Kabir; Public Relations Officer (PRO)- Dr Alfa Yusuf; Editor – Dr Omoniyi Ayooluwa Emmanuel; Deputy Editor – Dr Adeyeye Abosede Grace; IPP – Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa; and IPSG – Jerry Kunle Isogun.