Nigerian doctors, under the umbrella of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Monday morning, suspended its nationwide strike after nine weeks.
On August 2nd, resident doctors commenced the industrial action due to poor treatment of its members and unfavorable working conditions.
NARD’s demands demanding, amongst other issues, the payment of COVID-19 treatment allowances in the absence of death-in-service insurance, having lost over a dozen of its members to the pandemic, while also protesting the shortage of manpower in public hospitals.
The strike coincided with a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, causing various organizations to plead for the strike to end so that the doctors could join the battle against the third wave of the pandemic.
At the root of the strike action is the government’s constant failure to honour the agreements reached with NARD over its demands.
Series of meetings between the leaders of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), NARD, and government representatives also failed to resolve the issues after the striking doctors insisted they could not trust the government.
On September 21st, the National Industrial Court ordered the doctors on strike to call it off and return to work. The court also ordered the Federal Government and the striking doctors to resume negotiations. However, NARD responded to the ruling through a statement. The statement appealed the court’s ruling and would be ruling and filing for “stay of execution.”
The calling off of the strike followed a marathon meeting of the association which stretched from Sunday evening to early Monday morning.
At the meeting, the NMA mandated the National Officers Committee, NOC, to ensure the implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed with the federal government on August 21.
The association also asked NOC to report back to the National Executive Council of NMA periodically on the progress being made on implementing the memorandum of understanding.
NMA also mandated the NOC to continue to interface with the chairmen of the state branches, including the FCT, on the progress being made.According to Godiya Ishaya, NARD president, the association has officially called off the strike.
He said, ” We’ve officially suspended the strike to resume at 8:00 am on Wednesday. We made the decision in the wee hours of today. We held an emergency meeting from 5:30 pm on Sunday to the morning hours of today, and the NEC decided that having reviewed the progress made so far, the strike should be suspended,”