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By Steve Oko
Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, has declared indefinite strike action beginning from Monday,
The National President of NARD Dr. Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa announced this on Saturday in umuahia Abia State at the end of the union’s National Executive Council meeting.
Dr Uyilawa cited the inability of the Federal Government to implement the agreements it entered with the union 113 days after it suspended the previous strike as a reason for the industrial action.
Other reasons for the strike according to the NARD boss include the poor working environment in public hospitals, irregular payment of doctors salaries and hazard allowances of N5000 which was reviewed last in 1991.
He said there was no backing down on the strike unless the Government met all the demands of the union.
NARD further regretted that only one out 19 families of its members who lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic while saving other lives had received ‘death in service insurance’ despite assurances from the Minister of Health, Dr Ehanire Osagie; and his Labour counterpart, Dr Chris Ngige.
The union accused the Government of handling the health of its citizens with levity.
“We ask Nigerians when will our government become responsible enough to solve the challenges facing the health sector?
“Even with all these problems, only 4 per cent of the total budget is allocated to the health sector, while 25-50 per cent goes into payment of those in power. That shows that priority lies more in the interest of those in power than Nigerian citizens.
“While we apologize to Nigerian citizens for the impact of the impending strike action on them, we want the government to implement all the agreements we have had with them for over a decade standing to improve the health sector and doctors welfare.
NARD said it was agreed that its members should enrol in the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, to prevent shortfalls in her member’s salary, but regretted that the agreement collapsed due to the embargo from the office of the Head of Service of Federation.