In view of the ongoing strike, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has ordered doctors at COVID-19 isolation centres to join the nationwide action.
According to the association, a fine of N5m will be imposed on any of its branches that fail to join the strike. The body added that defaulting branches would not be able to hold any national position for the next two years.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH, the NARD President, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, noted that the threat to impose a N5m fine on errant branches was contained in an internal memo sent out to members by the National Executive Council of the association.
It would be recalled that NARD, had on April 1 begun a nationwide strike over the government’s failure to pay salaries of house officers and a review of N5,000 hazard allowance of doctors.
Despite efforts by the government to resolve matters on ground, the doctors shunned an agreement they signed with the government on the grounds that the proposals contained in it were not new.
After reports that doctors at Covid-19 isolation centres did not embark on the strike, an internal memo threatening to impose a fine of N5m was sent to various branches of the association.
The circular read in part:
“NARD affirms her commitment to the welfare of all members. All members of NARD will be levied the sum of N2, 500 as strike levy for the smooth prosecution of the industrial action.
“Penalty for any centre that sabotages the industrial action will be payment of a fine of N5m and suspension from holding any NARD national officers committee positions for two years.”
Speaking further, Okhuaihesuyi said doctors at the isolation centres, who are their members, were asked to join the strike because of the importance of this particular industrial action.
“I know some people may think we are selfish but this strike is about improving the health sector and improving service delivery,” he said.
The NARD President, however, said consultant doctors should be able to handle emergencies at the isolation centres for now.
According to statistics, NARD comprises over 40 per cent of the total number of doctors in Nigeria.