Resident Doctors begin indefinite strike today 

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has announced an indefinite strike in response to the government’s failure to meet their demands.

Dr. Emeka Orji, the president of NARD, revealed this decision yesterday, stating that the strike will commence on Wednesday morning, July 26, 2023. 

The NARD NEC members held a meeting in Lagos on Tuesday, where they collectively reached this decision.  

Demands of the NARD 

Among their major demands are the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), the release of the circular on one-for-one replacement, payment of skipping arrears, and an upward review of CONMESS to restore salaries to their 2014 value. 

  • Speaking to the press, Dr. Orji said, “We have also been talking about the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) for 2023 which was captured in the budget, but up till now has not been released.
  • “We have also been requesting an upward review of the consolidated medical salary structure. Government is yet to handle the matter the way they are supposed to handle it. This time around, we are not calling any percentage again; what we are asking for is full salary restoration.
  • “We said before that this salary structure we are using was approved in 2009 and implemented in 2014.
  • “What we are saying is restore us back to the value of the salary as of 2014 because we know that inflation, exchange rate increment and fuel price has eroded the value.” 

Additionally, the association is demanding the payment of arrears of consequential adjustment of minimum wages to the omitted doctors, the reversal of the downgrading of the membership certificate by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), payment of MRTF, new hazard allowance, skipping, and the implementation of corrected CONMESS in State Tertiary Health Institutions. They also seek the payment of omitted hazard allowance arrears. 

  • He said, “We are also asking for salary arrears that they are owing us – 2014, 2015 and 2016, and a host of other demands.”

Efforts towards resolving the problem 

Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, had requested a two-week grace period from NARD during a meeting with their leadership on Monday.

He intended to utilize this time to meet with President Bola Tinubu regarding the association’s demands. However, strike action has been initiated as the demands have not been met thus far. 

The association also complained about its members working long hours and burnout of its members as a result of the relocation of a lot of their colleagues.