THE National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has threatened to commence an ‘indefinite strike’ on Thursday if the federal government fails to meet the association’s demands, a communiqué issued at the end of the NARD’s extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Saturday stated.

The communiqué signed by the President of MARD, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, also said the ultimatum given to the federal government to meet the earlier demands will expire on March 31, 2021 with no significant achievement.

“The NEC unanimously agreed that NARD should proceed on a total and indefinite strike on the 1st of April 2021, by 8am if the demands are not met,” stated the communiqué.

Amongst other things being demanded by NARD include the payment of salary arrears, review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding Covid-19 inducement allowance especially in state-owned tertiary Institutions.

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“Immediate payment of all salary arrears including March salaries for our members in all federal and state tertiary health institutions across the country especially ASUTH, IMSUTH and UNIMEDTH.

“Upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance especially in State owned-tertiary Institutions.

“Payment of death in service insurance for all health workers who died as a result of Covid-19 infection or other infectious diseases in the country,” the president said.

The doctors are also demanding the “implementation of September 2017 Memorandum of Terms of Settlement between NARD and the government in order to bring lasting peace to the health sector and curb the ongoing ugly trend of brain drain from the health sector.”

According to the association, none of its members has benefited from the life insurance scheme put in place by the federal government after considering the danger health workers are exposed to during the pandemic.

“The PTF has received the Life Insurance cover to the frontline workers on Covid-19 for a maximum of 5000 health workers who are employed to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had said at a briefing, adding that the “premium in the sum of N112,500,000 for the cover has been fully paid by the Nigerian Insurance Industry in line with the principle of No Premium, No Cover.”

Despite risks associated with their profession, there have been numerous complaints of poor remuneration and welfare of health workers in Nigeria.

The doctors had downed tools in June and September 2020 over these same issues.

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