While the rest of the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, tapping into and pulling in all their resources, including medical staff, the Nigerian Government failed to prevent doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) from going on strike on Monday, June 15. It would however seem that the Federal Government has made some progress, as the association suspended its nationwide strike with effect from Monday, June 22. It will be recalled that following the expiration of the ultimatum given by the association to the Federal Government to meet its demands, resident doctors commenced strike action. The negotiations that ensued between the association and the Federal Government were reported to have ended in a deadlock. However, the Federal Government announced that it has approved N9billion as group life insurance for all health workers and over N4billion as special hazard allowance for aggrieved employees in several hospitals across the country. In a statement by NARD President, Aliyu Sokomba, he disclosed that the leadership of the association decided to call off the strike in order to give the Federal and State governments time to meet its outstanding demands, highlighting that the association will continue negotiations with stakeholders and review any progress recorded.
Nigeria’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have been affected by a shortage of facilities and medical equipment, as well as lack of adequate manpower. With medical workers all over the world on the front line in the fight against COVID-19, their welfare should be of utmost importance, as they continue to put themselves at risk on a daily basis.