President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile, has advised the Federal Government to urgently meet the demands of doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to avert another strike.

Faduyile said “Government should do the needful and give the doctors their entitlements to avoid disruption of healthcare services in Nigeria. They have not paid doctors in Abia for 13 months. In Imo State, the government has been paying the doctors only 70 percent of their salaries since 2015.

“The issue of non-payment of salaries and arrears is not just with doctors but with all the health workers. How can a doctor be working without pay?”

Meanwhile, the Association of Resident Doctors (ARDs) of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku Awka in Anambra State yesterday began an indefinite strike over poor condition of service and lack of health infrastructure.

The resident doctors said they were embarking on the strike over the inability of the state government to honour the agreement it signed with the body on January 17, 2019 during its warning strike.

President of ARD in COOUTH, Dr. Obinna Anigbaoso, in a statement said the strike had become inevitable given the state government’s inability to respect the agreement it had with the doctors.

According to him, “government’s failure to honour the agreement it freely signed with them on January 17, 2019 during our warning strike necessitated the down-tooling.”

When contacted, President, NARD, Dr. Segun Olaopa, told The Guardian Newspaper: “They are the lowest paid doctors in Nigeria. It is like paying a senior doctor as house officer. There was a time they had only two house officers because most doctors did not want to work there. The government promised to improve their salary and welfare on April 1, 2019. I have had to personally intervene three times and asked them to suspend planned strikes. Although I cannot confirm the current strike but I am not surprised.”