- The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government have agreed to halt the five-day warning strike by the doctors.
- The strike began on May 17, following the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum by the doctors demanding a 200% increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.
- The agreement was disclosed in a Ministry of Labour and Employment statement indicating a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
- Issues surrounding doctors omitted from the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment are to be resolved, with NARD presenting a new list to the Ministry of Health.
- Concerns were also raised over the non-payment of salaries to doctors in Abia State, with a call for the Abia State Government to rectify this situation.
In a significant development, an agreement has been reached between the Federal Government and the resident doctors of Nigeria, successfully halting the five-day warning strike.
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had called the strike on May 17, following the expiry of a 14-day ultimatum issued to the government.
Their primary demand: a substantial 200% increase in their Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.
Worried by the potential implications of the strike, the resident doctors convened with the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Health and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, last Friday.
The meeting led to signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), as revealed in a Ministry of Labour and Employment statement.
Olajide Oshundun, the ministry’s spokesman, confirmed, “The Federal Government has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), geared towards halting the five-day nationwide warning strike of resident doctors.”
The MOU’s expected outcome will be presented to NARD members within 48 hours in a bid to suspend the strike that began on May 17, 2023.
Simultaneously, the meeting also resolved the issue concerning doctors who were left out of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment.
NARD will provide the Ministry of Health with a new list by May 22.
On another front, the resident doctors voiced their concerns regarding the ongoing strike by their colleagues in Abia State due to consistent non-payment of salaries.
Responding to this, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) urged the Abia State Government to settle the outstanding payments for effective health service delivery.
An Essential Agreement: Towards the Resolution of Doctor Strikes
The recent agreement between the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government is critical in our ongoing healthcare crisis.
As we’ve seen, medical professionals have been pushed to their limit, not only by the difficulties of their profession but by administrative roadblocks and the chronic non-payment of salaries.
The strike was initially sparked by a demand for a 200% increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.
Undeniably, this might seem like a steep ask for some observers.
However, one must consider the level of service these doctors provide to our society.
They hold our healthcare system together, often working under challenging conditions.
With the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing, there’s a glimmer of hope.
This agreement is a step towards resolving the issues faced by our dedicated medical practitioners, leading to a suspension of the five-day warning strike.
Yet, it doesn’t negate that these problems should not exist in the first place.
However, the MOU is not a panacea.
While it presents a hopeful resolution for the doctor’s strike, the non-payment of salaries in Abia State remains a concern.
It underscores the need for local and state governments to ensure that all medical practitioners are compensated appropriately and promptly for their crucial work.
We urge the Federal Government and NARD to act swiftly on the terms of the MOU, showing our medical professionals that their voices are heard and their needs are taken seriously.
We further call on the Abia State Government to take immediate steps to resolve the salary payment issue.
A stable, well-compensated medical workforce is crucial to the well-being of our society.
We implore our readers to consider the implications of this agreement and the ongoing issues in our healthcare system.
It’s up to us to stay informed and to hold our officials accountable.
Let’s ensure they stay true to their word.
Did You Know?
- According to the Nigerian Medical Association, Nigeria has a ratio of one doctor to 5,000 people.
- The World Health Organization recommends a minimum ratio of one doctor to 600 people.
- Resident doctors in Nigeria comprise about 70% of the doctors in the public healthcare sector.
- Strikes by healthcare professionals are not unique to Nigeria; they happen globally due to various factors such as poor working conditions, low pay, and lack of resources.
- The first medical school in Nigeria, the University of Ibadan, was established in 1948.
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