The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Monday said its members in Abia State have been on strike for almost a year over unpaid salaries.
President of the association, Dr. Dare Ishaya, who made the disclosure during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, criticised the Abia State Government for owing resident doctors their salaries as well as failing to implement the Medical Residency Training Act in the state.
According to Ishaya, plans are ongoing with the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who has agreed to pay seven months of the salary arrears and also domesticate the Act in the state.
“I want to tell Nigerians that Abia State, our doctors in the Abia State University Teaching Hospital have been on strike for almost a year now,” he said.
“However there has been some little progress being made. At the last meeting, the Association of Resident Doctors had with the governor and our representatives, it was agreed that the governor was ready to release seven months of the salary arrears within one week and also domesticate the Medical Residency Training Act within the state.”
Should the state government renege on its part, the NARD President said the body’s National Executive Council will consider everything and take appropriate decisions in the next two weeks.
He commended the Governors Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Babagana Zulum (Borno), and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe) for their investment in the health sectors.
Ishaya also called on other state governors to emulate those that have tried to improve the healthcare delivery system in their domains.
The doctors are asking the Federal Government to expedite action on the payment of the newly reviewed Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) so its members can meet up with the closing date of examination registration as advertised by the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN).
They are also demanding the immediate implementation and payment of the new Hazard Allowance and arrears as contained in the circular from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC).
Other demands include the payment of the skipping arrears for 2014, 2015, and 2016 to deserving members and immediate payment of consequential adjustment of the minimum wage to its members who have not benefitted since it was implemented several years ago.
The doctors are equally demanding an immediate review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and other related allowances given the current economic situation in the country, and also in line with the agreed terms from the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that it will be reviewed regularly.
With Channels Television report