Pretoria – Nigerian resident doctors in state-run hospitals embarked on an indefinite strike on Monday, demanding salary hikes, better welfare and adequate facilities.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which represents around 40% of doctors, said the industrial action is the latest in a string of stoppages by medics to hit Africa’s most populous nation.
In a statement, the president of NARD Dr Aliyu Sokomba said all doctors will participate in the strike, including those who are treating patients with coronavirus.
In June, doctors went on strike over lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and called for hazard pay for those working close to the coronavirus. The strike exempted medics treating coronavirus patients.
More than 800 health-care workers have been infected by the virus, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Sokomba said this time there will be no exemptions.
He said long-standing issues such as provision of life insurance, salary increases, payment of salary arrears as well as provision of adequate facilities for doctors were the reasons for the strike.
“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.
“It is an indefinite strike,” Sokomba said, adding that it would be called off only when the union’s demands were met.
Strikes by medics are common in Nigeria, where the health sector has been underfunded for years.
African News Agency (ANA)