The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) says it has cancelled its planned nationwide protest, billed to take place today, Wednesday, August 9, 2023, following the intervention of the Senate.
The resident doctors also hinted that they may call off their ongoing strike soon.
The National President of the association, Dr Emeka Innocent Orji, disclosed this Tuesday while briefing newsmen after meeting behind a closed door with Senate President Godswill Akpabio and other Principal Officers of the Senate at the National Assembly, Abuja.
NARD had on Saturday said it would embark on peaceful protests from Wednesday and picket the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, and the federal and state tertiary health institutions in the country.
NARD embarked on an indefinite strike on July 26, 2023, following the expiration of a two-week ultimatum it issued to the government to meet its demands.
The doctors are demanding the implementation of the one-for-one replacement policy for healthcare workers; the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to discontinue the downgrading of the membership certificate issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical Colleges; the immediate payment of all salary arrears; the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure; a new hazard allowance; and the domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act; among others.
Speaking after a meeting with Senate leadership, Dr Orji said, “From our discussions, we are very hopeful that when we table our discussions before the NEC, something positive would come out.
“From our interaction with the President of the Senate and the practical demonstration he did before us today, we are very confident that there would be light at the end of the tunnel in the next 24 hours.
“Because of the intervention of the President of the Senate, who is the number three citizen and the assurance he has given us, our planned national protest has been cancelled while the decision on the ongoing strike would be taken as soon as we meet.”
Akpabio thanked the medical doctors for honouring the Senate by calling off their planned national protest and also working towards calling off the strike.
“Your demands are well noted and let me assure you that as soon as a Minister in charge of Health is appointed, the Senate will work with him or her to expeditiously address all your grievances,” Akpabio told the doctors.