Doctors’ strike continues

  • NARD fails to hold anticipated meeting

Abuja –  Hope that the week-long strike embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, NARD, would end on Saturday has been dashed.

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the group which was supposed to deliberate on the strike during the week, following an agreement with the Federal Government over their demands,  could not meet again as scheduled.

The NEC was billed to meet in Abuja on Friday, and some members of the NEC were already in the nation’s capital for the meeting which our correspondent learnt was eventually suspended.  Two officials of NARD had confirmed to Nigeria Health Online, Friday, that the meeting would start late in the night and might run through Saturday morning.

In a telephone interview with our correspondent on Saturday, the NARD General Secretary,  FCT chapter, Roland Aigbovo, who doubles as Public Relations Officer of the FCT’s branch of  the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), said the meeting could not hold.

“There were some constitutional provisions before calling for a meeting. We need to meet the constitutional provisions. We are trying to fix another date for the meeting now. When we do, I will let you know,” he said.

It then means that the strike would continue, while patients who have been the victims of the strike would continue to lament.

Roland however denied insinuations that government had reneged on some of the promises it made when the group and government met in Abuja during the week.

Recall that government had said it would not punish the group for the strike only if it suspends the strike this weekend.

NARD downed tools last Monday following government’s failure to meet its six-point demand.

The demands are failure to pay the doctors’ shortfall of 2016 and January to May 2017; failure to rectify the salary shortfall from August 2017; failure to circularize House Officers’ Entry Point; failure to correct the stagnation of promotion of the doctors and properly place them on their appropriate grade level.

Others include: failure to enroll and capture the doctors on Integrated Personnel Payment Information System (IPPIS); failure to budget, deduct and remit both the employer and employees’ contributions to the doctors’ pension retirement savings account since 2013.

Saturday’s botched NEC’s meeting was sequel to a meeting held by the leadership of NARD with the Federal Government on Thursday.

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