By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–RESIDENT doctors in Abuja,the nation’s capital city,last night, announced suspension of their one-week old strike.
The doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors, Abuja Chapter, said their action was in response to the plea of their national body,which had asked them last Friday, to suspend the strike following ongoing Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
A statement signed by the President of the association, Dr. Roland Aigbovo and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja, maintained that the decision to suspend its withdrawal of services was due to a directive from president if the Nigerian Medical Association of Nigeria (NMA), following the increasing numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county.
Aigbovo who however gave management of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), until 30th April, 2020 to meet its demands, noted that failure to to that would have the resident doctors resume the suspended strike action.
In his words: “Our members were thrown into serious financial distress following the non-payment of our salaries as at when due and we waited patiently after the end of year 2019 and new year 2020 celebrations, till third week of February, only for us to receive a paltry sum of money as January salary.
“The money received ranges from one-fifth to one-seven of our salary with the exclusion of the newly employed members who have not been paid for about 5 – 7 months.
Arising from our 1st quarter ordinary General Meeting which held on the 24th February, 2020, a 14day ultimatum was issue to FCTA management to resolve the issues.
“At the turn of events, the House Committee on Healthcare Services convoked an Emergency meeting of Top Management Staff of FCTA, National Officers Committee of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Executive members of NMA FCT and Executive committee of ARD-FCTA with the House Committee on Healthcare Services on Friday 20th March, 2020.
“The threat of mass sack of ARD-FCTA members who fail to resume work within 24hrs was withdrawn.
“It was resolved at that meeting that a-5man committee be set-up to oversee the implementation of the resolutions reached. The membership of the committee includes:
1 representative from NMA, 2 representatives from ARD-FCTA, 2 representatives from FCTA
FCTA is to provide the secretariat of the committee.
“Following the directive of the President, Nigerian Medical Association for all medical associations who have declared strike with their respective management to return to work immediately, our members were directed to resume emergency services immediately.
“I am happy to announce to you that the 8-days long strike action embarked on by members of ARD-FCTA has been suspended and our members are to return to their respective duty post immediately.
“The FCTA management is given up till 30th April, 2020 to resolve all contentious issues; failure to do so will only lead to resumption of the strike action.”
Aigbovo urged the FCTA management to make available; adequate infection prevention and control measures in all hospitals with adequate supply of face masks, hand sanitizer, Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) for the returning doctors to work with in containing the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
Recall that had last week, embarked upon on the 16th of March, 2020, over salary irregularities and shortfalls since their migration to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) by the Federal Capital Territory Administration,FCTA.