Nigerian doctors begin strike over pay, inadequate facilities

The strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which represents some 40 percent of Nigeria’s doctors, is that the latest during a string of labor stoppages to hit the country because it struggles with Covid-19.

“The strike commenced at 8:00 this morning. But the NEC (National Executive Committee) will convene this afternoon to review things ,” NARD president Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi told AFP.

He said the review became necessary following a gathering with government representatives on Wednesday.

NARD had threatened to strike if the govt did not meet demands that include non-payment of allowances and lack of facilities at state-run hospitals.

On Wednesday, a government team led by Labour Minister Chris Ngige met with the doctors during a bid to go off the strike.

Ngige appealed to aggrieved doctors to think about the damage the strike would inflict to a health system already stressed by the coronavirus.

There are some 42,000 doctors in Nigeria, out of which 16,000 are resident doctors — school of medicine graduates training as specialists.

Doctors have long complained of a scarcity of beds and medicines in hospitals also as inadequate protective kits.

Other demands include life assurance coverage, a pay rise and payment of unsettled wages.

The doctors union has previously called work stoppages on similar issues, grounding activities in government hospitals before calling them off.

Authorities fear any reduction in capacity this point could harm the country’s ability to tackle the pandemic, including a programme to administer some 40 million doses of Astrazeneca vaccines.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of 200 million inhabitants, has recorded 162,891 cases and a couple of ,057 deaths since the primary patient of the virus in February 2020.

But the past few months have seen a drop by the amount of infections, consistent with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

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