Nigerian Doctors Commence Nationwide Strike Amidst Buhari’s Medical Tour

Medical doctors in Nigeria under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, are set to commence a nationwide strike from Monday even as President Muhammadu Buhari is presently ensconced in the UK for his medical checkup. 

“We are embarking on a total and indefinite strike on August 2, 2021 [Monday]. You can recall we had a memorandum of action on March 31, 2021, and had an addendum to it on April 9, and since then, we still have had irregularities in the payment of salaries to the house officers,” Mr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, President of NARD said in a statement on Saturday. 

The doctors are protesting the exclusion of House Officers from the federal government’s scheme of service House Officers are resident physicians and surgeons of hospitals (the “house”) who are receiving further training, usually in a medical or surgical specialty, while caring for patients under the direction of an attending physician.

Although the federal government’s circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service was not implemented, NARD says it’s members are experiencing irregularities in the payment of salaries to house staff. 

“We had issues with them being non-regular payment and as part of the memorandum of action, it was said that they should be captured back into the IPPS platform,” Mr Okhuaihesuyi further disclosed. 

The strike, according to NARD is further propelled by the refusal of the federal government to honor and implement the Memorandum of Understanding which it signed with them more than a hundred days ago. 

The Resident Doctors’ strike is coming amidst President Buhari’s medical tour in the UK after he left the country on July 26 to attend a virtual summit and a routine medical check-up. 

Nigeria’s health sector continues to worsen under Buhari’s administration with greater risks being posed with the impending fourth wave of the novel coronavirus.