In a bid to alleviate the ongoing healthcare crisis in Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has presented its minimum conditions to halt its indefinite strike, which began on July 26. The association’s National President, Dr. Emeka Orji, revealed in an interview that theResident Doctors List Conditions To Suspend Strike release of a circular for a one-for-one replacement of clinical staff and the disbursement of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund are crucial prerequisites to ending the strike.
While the planned nationwide protest has been temporarily suspended, NARD has issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Federal Government to address these critical demands and put an end to the ongoing strike. The decision on whether to continue or call off the strike is scheduled to be made by Friday, August 12.
Previously, the striking doctors had announced plans for a peaceful daily protest starting from Wednesday, August 9, 2023, should the government fail to meet their stipulated requirements.
Dr. Orji emphasized the importance of meaningful negotiations with the government and expressed hope that the urgent demands would be met. He stated, “Our demands are crucial because there is a shortage of doctors in our hospitals, resulting in overworking the few remaining. It is unsustainable in the long run.”
The first demand, the release of a circular for a one-for-one replacement of clinical staff, aims to address the understaffing issue. Dr. Orji highlighted that this measure would not involve additional expenses for the government, as the new recruits would be compensated from the budget allocated to replace departed staff.
“The government has the list of those who have left, and it is a matter of replacing them immediately with new recruits who would be paid the pre-budgeted salary. This is a measure that was agreed upon in February but has yet to be implemented. We are hopeful that the government will fulfill its commitment,” he stated.
The second demand revolves around the disbursement of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), which is integral to the professional development and training of medical residents. This fund is vital to ensure that doctors receive comprehensive and up-to-date training, contributing to improved healthcare services in the country.
NARD remains optimistic that the government will address these demands promptly, allowing the association to suspend the strike and continue negotiations on outstanding salary and arrears issues.
The association’s recent engagement with government officials, including a meeting with the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, reflects a willingness to resolve the healthcare crisis through constructive dialogue.
As the countdown to the August 12 decision deadline continues, Nigerians eagerly await the outcome of these negotiations, hoping for a positive resolution that will restore much-needed medical services and alleviate the burden on the healthcare system.