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Amid COVID-19 upsurge, resident doctors begin indefinite strike

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MEMBERS of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike.

This followed the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum issued by the association to the Federal Government to meet its demands.

The resident doctors’ strike is coming at a time Nigeria grapples with increasing cases of confirmed COVID-19 and attendant deaths.

Aliyu Sokomba, National President of NARD announced the commencement of the industrial action at a press conference on Monday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Sokomba, however, stated that members of the association working in various Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation and treatment centres across the country were exempted from the strike.

He explained that exemption of the members attending to COVID-19 patients was for two weeks before they join the industrial action.

The NARD president further stated that the association took the decision to go on strike as a result of the failed series of meetings between the doctors and the Federal Government in the last two weeks.

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It will be recalled that the association had earlier issued a warning to the Federal Government to embark on strike regardless of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Sokomba, the meetings have failed to resolve the lingering industrial disputes which include the non-payment of  the resident doctors’ special allowances.

He also decried the deplorable state of hospitals across the country and the lack of protective equipment for members of the association treating COVID-19 patients.

Sokomba added that this has exposed many of doctors to coronavirus and resulted in the death of some of them.

When contacted for comment, Olujimi Oyetomi, Director of Press at the Federal Ministry of Health,  did not answer calls to his mobile phone and also did not reply text message sent to at the time of filing this report.

 

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Abeeb Alawiye formerly works with The ICIR as a Reporter/Social Media officer. Now work as a Senior Journalist with BBC News Yoruba. You can shoot him an email via Abeeb.alawiye@bbc.co.uk or follow him on Twitter @habsonfloww

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