In a significant development, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has announced an indefinite strike commencing on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, at midnight.
As reported by PUNCH, Emeka Orji, the President of NARD, revealed this decision after the July National Executive Council meeting held in Lagos. This article provides comprehensive coverage of the reasons behind the strike and the demands put forth by the doctors, aiming to shed light on the critical healthcare issues facing Nigeria.
Emeka Orji highlighted several crucial demands presented by the doctors during the strike. Among these demands are:
One-for-One replacement policy for healthcare workers
One of the primary concerns driving the strike is the urgent need to implement a one-for-one replacement policy for healthcare workers. The existing shortage of medical professionals in Nigeria is a critical issue, and the doctors insist on measures to address this deficiency promptly.
Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria’s membership certificate
The doctors are urging the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to discontinue downgrading the membership certificate issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical Colleges. This step would ensure that the recognition of their qualifications remains intact and upholds the standards of medical practice.
Immediate payment of salary arrears
Amidst their demands, the doctors emphasize the pressing need for the immediate payment of all salary arrears owed to them. Timely payment is not only a matter of fairness but also essential for their motivation and financial stability.
Implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure
Implementing the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure is another significant demand put forth by doctors. A fair and competitive salary structure is vital to attract and retain skilled medical professionals in the country.
New hazard allowance
Recognizing the challenges and risks doctors face in their line of duty, NARD seeks to introduce a new hazard allowance. This allowance is crucial in supporting the medical workforce and acknowledging their dedication to serving the nation.
Domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act
The domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act is a matter of great concern for doctors. Implementing this act can improve the Nigerian medical education system, leading to better-trained doctors and enhanced patient care.
The urgency of the strike
Orji emphasizes that the strike comes after months of attempting to address these issues with little progress. The demand for a one-for-one replacement policy is particularly significant as doctors continue to leave due to challenging working conditions and an overwhelmed workforce. The recent unfortunate incident of a doctor’s demise in Bayelsa State underscores the dire need for action to prevent further tragedies.
Efforts were made to avert the strike, with the intervention of George Akume, the Secretary to the Government. However, communication with the authorities could have been more fruitful, causing the doctors to begin the strike to draw attention to their grievances.
Impact on healthcare services
The indefinite strike by resident doctors will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences on healthcare services in Nigeria. With doctors withdrawing their services, patients may face difficulties accessing medical care, particularly in public hospitals. The situation calls for urgent measures to address the doctors’ concerns and restore essential medical services.
The declaration of an indefinite strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors is a significant event that demands attention and prompt resolution. As the President of NARD, Emeka Orji has voiced the doctors’ concerns and critical demands, which revolve around improving healthcare infrastructure, ensuring fair compensation, and prioritizing the well-being of medical professionals.
As the strike unfolds, stakeholders and policymakers must engage in constructive dialogue to find lasting solutions to the healthcare sector’s challenges.