On Wednesday, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) announced an indefinite strike due to the federal government’s lack of interest in addressing their members’ welfare concerns. These concerns include the implementation of the one-for-one replacement policy for healthcare workers and the payment of salary arrears. President of NARD, Dr Emeka Orji, stated that doctors have been on these issues since January and cannot continue to wait. The strike comes after previous warning strikes and ultimatums to the government, which have been ignored. NARD’s demands have still not been addressed, leading to the nationwide strike.
Strike actions are a familiar occurrence in Nigeria. Many professional groups, associations, and trade unions believe that striking is the only way to get the government’s attention when their needs are not being met.
In this case, members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) stayed up all night to discuss important issues regarding their members’ welfare. They have now announced an indefinite strike, expressing their dissatisfaction with the federal government’s lack of interest in their concerns.
NARD President Dr Emeka Orji revealed that the strike began at 12am on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, following a unanimous decision made during the July National Executive Council meeting in Lagos the previous night.
The president outlined several longstanding demands of the resident doctors, which have been ignored by the federal government since the beginning of the year. These demands include the implementation of the one-for-one replacement policy for healthcare workers, the discontinuation of downgrading membership certificates issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical Colleges, the immediate payment of salary arrears, the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure and a new hazard allowance, and the domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act, among others.
Dr Emeka Orji emphasized the urgency of their demands, stating that doctors cannot continue to wait any longer. He highlighted the issue of overworked doctors and the recent death of a doctor in Bayelsa State due to excessive workload. Despite efforts to negotiate with the government, no progress has been made, and the doctors have decided to proceed with the strike.
This is not the first time NARD has taken action to address their grievances. They previously issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government, followed by a five-day warning strike when their demands were not met. Another two-week ultimatum was issued later, which has now led to the nationwide strike initiation.