Nigeria’s health sector is about to face another round of crisis as the resident doctors have resolved to commence a nationwide indefinite industrial action tomorrow (Monday).

This is coming as the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has given the federal government and the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) a 21-day ultimatum to halt persistent cut in wages of members or face total and indefinite nationwide strike action.

The resident doctors, under the auspices of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), said they would embark on the strike due to the failure by the federal and state governments to attend to the issues affecting the welfare of its members.

The doctors said they were dismayed that despite several meetings with the Presidential Committee on Salaries and other top government stakeholders on the review of hazard allowance for health workers, the allowance still remained a paltry sum of N5,000.

They also noted the alleged non-payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance to some of its members in federal and state tertiary institutions.

In a communiqué issued at the end of their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, NARD said: “After critical appraisal of the performance of both federal and state governments on all the issues affecting the welfare of our members as observed above and the insincerity of government in implementing the Memorandum of Action after 113 days, the NEC unanimously resolved by vote to resume the total and indefinite strike action from 08.00hrs on Monday, August 2, 2021”.
The doctors demanded the immediate withdrawal of the circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service.

They also decried the undue hardship doctors on GIFMIS platform were facing due to the delays in payment of their salary arrears ranging from three to seven months.
NARD further expressed concern over the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 while commending states like Delta and Benue, which have adopted the law.

In addition, NARD lamented the acute manpower shortage in most tertiary health institutions and the attendant burnout effects on its members.
It said the situation has been made worse by the ongoing deadly brain drain decimating the nation’s healthcare system.

The association also accused the Registrar of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Dr. T B Sanusi of non- remittance of its membership dues.
It stated that its members were committed to the smooth running of the health sector, adding however that they can only do so when their welfare is given the desired attention.

However, the Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige had said a lot of progress had been made in the implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement with the resident doctors.

Speaking shortly after a recent meeting of the federal government’s team with NARD at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Ngige said substantial progress was made in operationalising the insurance scheme.