Resident doctors in Nigeria are currently on a strike over pay and working conditions amid the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, told Reuters that the strike, which began on Monday, includes 16,000 resident doctors out of a total of 42,000 doctors in the country. He said the doctors decided to go on a strike as the government failed to meet their demands made in June this year.
“It is an indefinite strike until issues are resolved,” Dr. Sokomba said. “All resident doctors at the COVID-19 centres have joined the strike.”
Nigeria has reported around 55,456 confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,067 deaths so far.
Resident doctors are very crucial for frontline healthcare in Nigeria as they dominate the emergency wards in the hospitals.
This is the second time that the doctors have sit on a strike. The doctor’s group also went on strike in June, demanding better benefits and more protective equipment for battling the coronavirus, life insurance and hazard allowance.
In a statement, Minister of Labour Chris Ngige urged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), to suspend the strike.
Ngige said that it was imperative for NARD to suspend the industrial action as the government had already addressed six out of the eight demands listed by the association.
He said the government will reconvene a conciliation meeting between NARD and Federal Ministries of Health, and Finance, Budget, and National Planning on Wednesday at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to avert the ongoing strike.
Nigeria’s economy has been hit hard by the effects of the virus outbreak, as well as low oil prices.
Since originating in China last December, the novel virus has infected more than 27 million people, and claimed over 883,000 lives, according to the latest figures by Johns Hopkins University. After the United States, India has the second-largest number of confirmed cases in the world.