Some Nigerians have heaved a sigh of relief following the suspension of the nationwide strike called by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on April 1.
NARD president, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, on Sunday after the meeting where the decision to call off the strike was taken, that the strike was suspended because the federal government had met some of their demands and both parties were able to reach an agreement on Friday.
Mrs. Chioma Ezeugwu, who resides in Abuja, commended the doctors for suspending the strike and urged the federal and state governments to do all that is necessary to ensure sustained industrial peace in the health sector.
Speaking on Sunday, Mrs. Ezeugwu noted that the strike was ill-timed considering the impact of the outbreak of coronavirus and the hardships ordinary Nigerians were grappling with.
She added: “It is a huge relief because many Nigerians who had to take their relatives from the hospital as a result of the strike can now bring such persons back to government hospitals which are still cheaper than privately-owned hospitals.”
Another respondent, Mrs. Noma Agbenson, hailed the doctors for putting the interest of Nigerians above other considerations in suspending the strike.
“This is good news for Nigerians because most people cannot afford the high cost of health services in private hospitals.”
The director/senior technical assistant to the minister of health, Dr Chris Isokpunwu, described the development as good news and explained that the decision to suspend the strike was the product of fruitful negotiations between the federal government and the resident doctors.
However, Okhuaihesuyi explained that some of the doctors’ demands that were met include the abolishment of bench fee by House Officers, those on GIFMIS to be paid and integrated into Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPIS) in the next one week and a promise to work on salary shortfall for House Officers within 48 hours.
He however said that the strike was only suspended for four weeks and that the doctors may resume the strike after four weeks if government fails to meet all their demands.
According to him, doctors working in isolation centres will be resuming work today while others will resume on Monday.RD had embarked on an indefinite strike on April 1 after the expiration of the 60-day ultimatum given to the federal government to meet their demands.