Following the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Federal Government and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Wednesday, the Nigerian Doctors have finally called off their strike.
It would be recalled that Nigerian Doctors had embarked on a nation wide strike on September 7 due to the failure of the government to meet their requests made in June which includes insurance package, payment of the outstanding COVID-19 allowance as well as the payment of medical residency training fund.
The association’s president, Aliyu Sokomba, who confirmed this on Thursday evening however said that notwithstanding the suspension of the industrial action, a meeting between the leadership of NARD and the Federal Government has been scheduled for Friday as Negotiation Continues.
He said, “Following our meeting yesterday (Wednesday) with government, we had a National Executive Council meeting and resolved to once again suspend our strike to allow the government time to address our demands. So the strike is suspended to be reviewed in two weeks’ time.”
In a communique issued at the end of a marathon conciliation meeting presided over by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in Abuja, the parties agreed that the COVID-19 isolation centres now had sufficient provision of Personal Protective Equipment.
The FG and NARD also agreed on the provision of group life insurance for doctors and other healthcare workers and payment of death-in-service benefit to next-of-kin/beneficiaries.
The meeting noted that the FG had paid N9.3bn to insurance companies for Life Group Insurance and payment of death benefits for health workers, adding that enrolment was by the submission of nominal rolls by the various health institutions, which NARD had been mandated at a previous meeting to accomplish.
On the payment of outstanding 2014, 2015, and 2016 arrears, the meeting recalled that it had been agreed that the issue would be further discussed post-COVID-19; therefore, no agreement was breached.
It was further agreed that discussions for review of a Permanent Hazard Allowance for all health workers would commence as soon as possible after consultations by the Minister of Labour and Employment with all stakeholders in the health sector.