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Doctors to Launch Nationwide Protest, Provides Justification

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The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors announced on Saturday that if the Federal Government does not accept its requests, it will launch peaceful protests on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.

NARD also stated that it will picket the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Federation’s Head of Civil Service, and the country’s federal and state tertiary health institutions.

The group announced this in a circular addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Olufunso Adebiyi, headlined “Notice of National Mass Protests and Picketing by NARD.”

The circular was signed by the association’s President, Dr. Emeka Orji, and Secretary General, Dr Kelechi Chikezie.

On July 26, 2023, NARD went on indefinite strike after the government failed to accept its demands within a two-week deadline.

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The doctors are calling for the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to stop downgrading membership certificates issued by West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical Colleges, as well as the immediate payment of all salary arrears, the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, a new hazard allowance, and the domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act.

Meanwhile, in a circular dated August 1, 2023, the FG authorized the Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals to impose the ‘no work, no pay’ policy on NARD strikers.

The FG also asked hospitals to keep an attendance registry for all willing resident doctors.

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However, in a circular dated August 5, 2023, NARD stated that it will engage in daily peaceful protests and picketing of the government to urge its demands.

“We wish to bring to your attention, the decision of the National Executive Council of NARD to embark on daily peaceful protests and picketing of the Federal Ministry of Health, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, as well as all federal and state tertiary health institutions nationwide, with effect from Wednesday, August 9, 2023, by 10 am,” the circular read in part.

“This has become necessary in order to press home our demands, which have largely been ignored by our parent ministry and the Federal Government.” We are saddened that, rather than making genuine and concerted efforts to resolve the issues that led to the strike despite repeated ultimatums, our parent ministry and the Federal Government have chosen to demonize Nigerian resident doctors, despite their sacrifices and patriotism.

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“As a result, we decided that it is past time for the rest of the world to hear our side of the story – the decay and corruption in the health sector, as well as the neglect that public health institutions have endured for years, leading to repeated strikes.”

“We believe the government still has time to address the issues at hand before Wednesday, August 9, 2023, or leave us with no choice.”

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