Doctors may resume strike soon- NARD President warns.
The President of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Aliyu Sokomba, has revealed that fourteen members of the association have lost their lives in the line of duty while treating cases of COVID-19 across the country.
He revealed that there are strong chances that members of the Association may resume its suspended strike action, except if urgent measures are taken by the government to attend to the associations’ demands to improve the poor working conditions of the doctors.
The National President of NARD, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba made this known while speaking at the opening ceremony of its 2020 Executive Council Meeting and Scientific Conference which held at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe.
Aliyu, who was represented by his Vice, Dr. Julian Ojebo, said that members of the association who recently resume d work on the 22nd of July may soon resume the suspended strike if there was no improvement.
He however noted that the NEC meeting in Gombe is expected to review the situation and define the way forward for the association.
Top among their demands were the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), life insurance for members, as well as payments owed members by state governments among many others.
Further speaking, he said, “the future is bleak. The constitution enshrines that the National Executive Council (NEC) are the ones to give us the go-ahead and say let’s give the government some time or not.
So the decision is in their hands and that’s why the NEC has been called at this time and Gombe is hosting the entire country”.
“There has been a paucity of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for doctors and other health workers to use. We’ve also seen a very high scourge in the rise in the number of doctors that have been exposed to COVID-19”.
Part of the demands made by the association include the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), life insurance for members as well as payment of owed salaries by state governments amongst many other.
“We have over 1000 of our members currently exposed to COVID-19 infection. When you send someone to war, you must equip such an individual.”
“One of the armouries that will embolden these doctors to fight is the life insurance and as it stands right now. We lost over fourteen of our members across the country and they don’t have life insurance as it were”, he said.
As regards the timing of the strike, Dr. Sokomba said, “we have always said this categorically. There is never a good or bad time to go on industrial action. These doctors we are talking about also have families.
Now, you have not paid someone for 14 to 48 months, how do you expect him to be psychologically stable to treat the patient you want him to treat?”, he asked.
The national president expressed hope that the government would live up to the promises that it had made over the years. Also he noted that, “there is no single achievement made by any medical doctor in this country without an industrial action”.
It is expected that the association will reach a definite position at the end of the meeting on Saturday.