A Cry for Justice: Nigerian Doctors Continue Strike, Demand Restoration of 2009 Salary Structure

A Cry for Justice: Nigerian Doctors Continue Strike, Demand Restoration of 2009 Salary Structure

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) recently disapproved of the government’s proposal to hike doctors’ basic pay by a quarter, arguing that this does not fulfill their initial requirements.

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Refusal of Pay Increase

NARD maintains that the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure should be wholly reinstated to its original value from 2009, a claim they presented to the federal government on July 5, 2023.

This rejection, articulated in a message signed by President Dr Orji Emeka Innocent, Secretary-General Dr Chikezie Kelechi, and Publicity & Social Secretary Dr Uma Musa, extends the ongoing national strike.

Concerns Over ‘Paltry’ Increment

The doctors labelled the government’s suggested raise as ‘meager’ and reiterated their commitment to their limitless strike until their demands are fully met.

They are calling for the prompt implementation of the ‘One-for-One’ policy, which mandates the replacement of any departed clinical worker.

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Workload and Staff Shortage

They contend that the current situation, characterized by considerable work overload due to a notable shortage of clinical staff, is unsustainable and jeopardizes their wellbeing.

They also pointed out that despite earlier promises, the government has yet to disburse the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF).

Demands for Salaries and Arrears

The statement further stressed, “After careful consideration, NEC resolved as: “To demand the payment of all salaries and arrears including the salary arrears of 2014-2016, arrears of hazard allowance, arrears of consequential adjustment of the minimum wage, and promotion arrears to our deserving members without further delay.”

Call for Reversal of Downgrading Membership Certificates

The NARD also urged the MDCN to reverse the devaluation of the membership certificate, warning that this could lessen the value attached to postgraduate medical training in Nigeria.

Urgent Appeal to Governors

The association called upon the governors of Abia, Kaduna, and Enugu states, as well as others where their members’ welfare is overlooked, to urgently address these issues.

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They further expressed their firm rejection of the casualization of doctors in tertiary health institutions in Nigeria, cautioning that this could spark industrial action soon if not addressed immediately.

Security Concerns and Federal Government’s Role

In their appeal, they also called for the immediate unconditional release of their trainer, Prof. Ekanem Philip-Ephraim of UCTH Calaber, and for the government to enhance security in the country to prevent such incidents.

They urged the federal government to consider alleviating the burden on Nigerians living in the post-subsidy era, while also ensuring that savings from the subsidy removal are used wisely for the common good.

Finally, the doctors appealed to both Federal and state governments to swiftly resolve these demands to prevent the further aggravation of the ongoing unrest in the national health sector.

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