Nigerian Doctors in State-Owned Hospitals Begin Strike Amid Pandemic Struggle


Nigerian doctors in state-owned hospitals have begun an indefinite strike to drive home their demand for pay rise, improved welfare and adequate facilities.

The industrial action by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which began on Monday was confirmed by the group’s President, Aliyu Sokomba, who spoke to AFP.

National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), President, Aliyu Sokomba speaks on “long-standing” issues leading to latest strike action. Photo- Channels TV.

As the nation struggles to curb the spread of coronavirus, the action of NARD, representing about 40% of doctors in Nigeria, will be the latest in a string of recent down-tool protest by doctors.

Sokomba, confirmimg that medics treating virus cases would join the strike action said: “There will be no exemptions.”

He reiterated that the provision of life insurance, a pay rise, payment of salary arrears as well as provision of adequate facilities for doctors as long-standing issues that have necessitated the strike action.

“We have arrears of 2014, 2015, 2016, salary shortfalls that were supposed to have been paid over six years ago, still pending.

“These are the issues we have and they appear not to have been addressed up till this day,” he said.

The NARD President, while lamenting the incessant strike actions by doctors occasioned by underfunding said the only condition for calling off the strike is when the Union’s demands were met, emphasising that “It is an indefinite strike”.

With over 55,000 Covid-19 cases recorded and 1,057 deaths, there are fears that healthcare capacity could severely hamper efforts towards tackling the spread and treatment of coronavirus across the country if this latest strike action persists.

Three months ago, when NARD staged a week-long strike over welfare and inadequate protective kits, doctors treating virus cases however remained on the job.