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FG urges doctors to avert today’s strike

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… NARD gives conditions

AHEAD of the nationwide industrial scheduled to commence today by resident doctors in Nigeria, after the expiration of a 60-day ultimatum, federal government has appealed to them to consider the plight of 80 per cent of the citizenry in need of healthcare and shelf the planned strike.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, set the conciliatory at a meeting with leadership of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in Abuja, yesterday.

A source at the parley quoted Ngige as saying that “majority of the welfare issues under contention were almost resolved even before the letter of complaint and notification of a planned strike action was delivered at the ministry.”

He also said that Ngige implored the agitating medical practitioners to consider effect of the global pandemic on Nigeria’s health sector and sheathe their sword.

“The country is in a bad place health wise because of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the medical sector. But as a conciliator, the complaints of the doctors have been adequately communicated to the relevant ministries. Several meetings have been ongoing and proposals drawn to address the situation before it degenerates into a strike,” he said.

But President of NARD, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, expressed the association’s resolve not to look back unless government meets its demands.

According to him, the conditions are full payment of salaries of all house officers and residents on the GIFMIS platform, upward review of hazard allowance from N5, 000 to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers, immediate payment of 2019, 2020 and 2021 Medical Residency Training Funds (MRTF).

Okhuaihesuyi also said that the doctors also demanded issuance of vouchers to families and loved ones of doctors who lost their lives in service, especially those on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, among other demands.

It will be recalled that NARD recently issued a 60-day ultimatum on federal government to press home its demands after an Extraordinary National Executive Council meeting on March 27 at the Trauma Centre of the National Hospital Abuja.

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