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Resident doctors issue strike notice over salaries, funding

By The Citizen
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The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) has given the Federal Government a 21-day notice to meet their demands or face an indefinite strike

NARD's President Dr. Muhammad Askira, who spoke at a news conference yesterday in Abuja, said the ultimatum took effect from April 4.

According to him, the resolution was reached by members at the end of the association's extraordinary executive council.

He listed some of their demands as payments of members' salaries till date and appropriate placement of members in states and federal tertiary hospitals across the nation.

Others are reversal of sacked members in some hospitals as well as appropriate funding of residency training programme.

Askira said some of their members in states tertiary hospitals in Osun, Imo, Ekiti, Abia and Kogi, among others, were owed  three to eight months' salary.

Askira, however, urged the government to adequately fund hospitals and upgrade facilities in public hospitals in line with international best practices.

The president said upgrading public health facilities would curb medical tourism.

'NARD will no longer tolerate undue sack of resident doctors and demands immediate reversal of such, and urge governments to comply with the pension deductions act as amended in 2014.

'We urged the government to ensure appropriate and adequate remuneration of our members at hospitals,'' Askira said.

Reacting to the Health minister's threat that any health worker engaged in industrial disharmony would forfeit his salary, Askira requested the minister to ascribe penalties for 'work without pay' before the penalty for 'no work no pay'.

He said resident doctors would help politicians deliver democratic dividends, describing anybody that denied them their entitlement as an enemy of Nigerians.

'My only concern is the situation whereby the government allows people to go on strike. Looking at our demands, they are solely the responsibilities of the government. At the moment, doctors in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Irrua and FMC, Owerri, have not been paid their December salaries.

'Residents doctors work all day and night meeting the health needs of Nigerians that come to us for consultation.

'When a big man in Abuja is involved in an accident or whatsoever, we are the first to receive him; then why this maltreatment?' he queried. The Nation