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Doctor Strike: Residents Doctors Call Off Strike

Nigerian doctors in state-run hospitals have suspended a 10-day strike over pay and inadequate facilities, union leaders said Sunday.

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which represents around 40 percent of Nigeria’s doctors, called the strike on April 1 to push the government to meet their demands.

The industrial action which paralysed activities in state-run hospitals, was the latest in a string of work stoppages to hit Africa’s most populous country as it battles Covid-19.

“We have suspended the strike following a series of meeting with government representatives on our demands,” NARD president Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi told AFP.

He said the suspension would be “for four weeks to enable us monitor how the government will implement the agreement we reached with them,” he said.

He said the union had directed doctors to resume work by Monday.

NARD had gone on strike following government’s failure to meet demands that include non-payment of allowances and lack of facilities at state-run hospitals.

There are some 42,000 doctors in Nigeria, out of which 16,000 are resident doctors — medical school graduates training as specialists.

Doctors have long complained of a lack of beds and drugs in hospitals as well as inadequate protective kits.

Other demands include life insurance coverage, a pay rise and payment of unsettled wages.

The doctors union has previously called work stoppages on similar issues, grounding activities in government hospitals before calling them off.

Authorities fear any reduction in capacity this time could harm the country’s ability to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, including a programme to administer some four million doses of Astrazeneca vaccines.

Nigeria with a population of 200 million inhabitants, has recorded 163,736 Covid-19 cases and 2,060 deaths since the first index case of the virus in February 2020.

But the past few months have seen a drop in the number of infections, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

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