Medical services were, on Wednesday, paralysed in government hospitals across the country as the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors began its indefinite strike.
Our correspondents, who monitored the strike in different states, however, observed that consultant medical and dental doctors, nurses, and other health workers were offering health services to cushion the effect of the strike.
But patients lament the delay in accessing care in the hospitals while some patients were discharged to seek health care in other health facilities.
NARD declared an indefinite strike on Tuesday night during its Extraordinary National Executive Council meeting in Lagos, following the failure of the Federal Government to meet its demands.
NARD had on July 5, 2023, issued a two-week ultimatum to the government to meet its demands.
The ultimatum expired on July 19, 2023.
The doctors are demanding the immediate release of the circular on one-for-one replacement of exited clinical staff in the various hospitals, immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund, the commencement of payment of all salary arrears owed to our members including the 2014, and 2015, and 2016 salary arrears, hazard allowance arrears as well as arrears of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage.
Our correspondent in Abuja reports that at the National Hospital, Abuja, patients decried delays in accessing health services.
A patient at the Surgical Out-Patient department, Nathan Isa, said he arrived at the hospital at 8am but had not been attended to as of 10am.
“I am not aware of the strike and I just came to the hospital this morning, only to find out that there is a strike but I hope I will be attended to before leaving,” he said.
The President of the Association of Resident Doctors at the hospital, Maruf Alao, also confirmed that his members were participating actively in the strike.
At the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, the resident doctors complied with the national body’s directive on the total and indefinite strike.
As of 11 am, the doctors had handed over their patients to the consultants and other health workers.
At the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, our correspondent observed that none of the resident doctors was present in the wards of the hospital at about 11 am, leaving the patients who came for medical treatment unattended.
However, it was gathered that medical and dental consultants were attending to some critical cases.
President of the association at the hospital, Dr Mubarak Ijaiya, said, “We cannot but comply with the directive issued by the NEC that we should not perform our duties in the hospital until the government acceded to all the demands of the association.”
Similarly, resident doctors in Bayelsa State joined the indefinite strike.
It was gathered that the commencement of the industrial dispute forced the management of public hospitals in the state to discharge patients from their health facilities.
The chairman of NARD, Federal Medical Centre Yenagoa branch, Dr Romeo Mbooh, who confirmed the situation, said his members were participating actively in the action.
Mbooh said, “Yes, we are involved in the strike fully. They are discharging patients. Strike monitoring by our team is ongoing. We are doing what we can do while we await further directives.”
In Rivers State, our correspondent who visited the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital reports that there was increased waiting time for patients.
The NARD President, UPTH chapter, Noah Ibe, said promises by the House of Representatives to look into the issues affecting resident doctors failed to resolve the impasse.
The National President of NARD, Dr Emeka Orji said, “There is no official positive response from the government regarding the doctors’ demands yet, but the strike is ongoing.”
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist known for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. With a keen investigative eye and exceptional writing skills, he has established himself as a kamikaze reporter, unafraid to delve into the most challenging and controversial subjects. Nwabuisi's vast experience in journalism has honed his ability to uncover hidden truths and shed light on important issues. His dedication to seeking the truth and presenting it to the public in a compelling and thought-provoking manner has earned him a reputable status in the industry.