LAGOS – The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has expressed its dissatisfaction with the recent 25 per cent increment in the basic salary of doctors announced by the federal government. In a communique released after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Lagos on Saturday, the association vehemently rejected the proposed increment, referring to it as “paltry” and insufficient.
According to the communique signed by NARD’s President, Dr Orji Emeka Innocent, Secretary-General Dr Chikezie Kelechi, and Publicity and Social Secretary Dr Umar Musa, the association had originally demanded the full restoration of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CMSS) to its value as at the time of its approval in 2009. The current increment falls far short of their expectations, prompting NARD’s strong opposition.
In response to the government’s offer, NARD has taken decisive action by continuing its nationwide total and indefinite strike. The association asserts that it will maintain this course of action until the government addresses their demands, as outlined in the ultimatum presented to the federal government on July 5, 2023.
Among the demands put forth by NARD is the immediate release of the circular regarding the One-for-One policy, which aims to replace exited clinical workers to alleviate the strain on healthcare facilities. NARD emphasizes that they cannot stand by and witness their members suffer from work overload due to the massive depletion of clinical staff resulting from brain drain.
Additionally, the association is demanding the swift payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) and the settlement of all outstanding salaries and arrears, including the salary arrears from 2014 to 2016, hazard allowance arrears, and the arrears of consequential adjustment related to the minimum wage. The payment of promotion arrears is also listed as one of NARD’s crucial demands.
As the strike continues, the nation’s healthcare system faces significant challenges, with NARD highlighting the urgency for the government to address their concerns promptly. The association remains resolute in its pursuit of fair compensation and improved working conditions for doctors in Nigeria. The ball is now in the government’s court, and all eyes are on further developments as the strike action persists.
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