Doctors in Nigeria have announced plans for a five-day warning strike if the government fails to address their demands.
The doctors under the auspices of the National Association of Resident Doctors or NARD, are asking for the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund, an increase in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, and payment of salaries owed since 2015.
Emeka Innocent, the President of NARD, said the industrial action will commence at 8 am on Wednesday, May 17 and end at 8 am on Monday, May 22.
The association also criticised a proposed bill that aims to enforce that doctors practise in Nigeria for five years before being permitted to work abroad. They argue that this bill would worsen the problem of brain drain in the health sector, which is not beneficial for the healthcare system.
NARD’s president highlighted the failure of many state governors to “implement the appropriate CONMESS structure, domesticate the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) or improve on the hazard allowance paid to NARD members.”
In response to the doctors’ demands, Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, said the doctors are suffering from an “entitlement syndrome” and claimed that the government had already provided them with everything they need.
“We have been managing their matter and have given them everything they want, including the residency training programme funds, we are paying them, even when in training, we pay them a full salary, pay them all the allowances and you decided that we have not done enough,” he said.