Nigerian doctors begin strike over pay, inadequate facilities

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Doctors in Nigeria's state-run hospitals on Monday began a strike over pay, insurance benefits and poor facilities.
  • There are some 42 000 doctors in Nigeria.
  • Authorities fear any reduction in capacity this time could harm the country's ability to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Doctors in Nigeria's state-run hospitals on Monday began a strike over pay, insurance benefits and poor facilities, union leaders said, as the country faces a third wave of coronavirus.

The strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which represents around 40 percent of doctors in Africa's most populous country, is the latest in a series of medical staff work stoppages.

"The nationwide strike started at 08:00 this morning. It's an indefinite strike," NARD president Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi told AFP.

"There will be no exemption for doctors handling Covid-19 cases."

He said the industrial action was to push government to honour its agreement on pay arrears, hazard allowance and insurance benefits to families of doctors who have died of the virus.

"We are asking government to pay insurance benefits of 19 of our members who have died in the line of duty," he said.

WATCH | Nigeria receives four million Covid-19 vaccine doses from US

Okhuaihesuyi said Nigerian doctors were ill-equiped and under-funded for the job while the facilities in state-run hospitals "are deplorable."

He said some states owed several months of salaries and other benefits, adding that the strike would not be suspended until the union's demands were met.

"We appeal to Nigerians to bear with us. Doctors and their families are suffering. We can no longer pay our bills because of government's insensitivity and neglect of our welfare."

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 equipment.

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.

The union called off a 10-day strike in April. Health services and activities were paralysed before it was suspended.

Authorities fear any reduction in capacity this time could harm the country's ability to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, including a programme to administer vaccines.

READ HERE | To ensure vaccine equity, 'donations are not sustainable' - activist

Nigeria with a population of 210 million has officially recorded 174 315 Covid-19 cases and 2 149 deaths since the first case of the virus in February 2020. But the real figures are believed to be much higher, in part because of low testing rates.

Last month, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said it had detected the more contagious Delta variant, putting officials on alert for a third wave of infections in the country.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
With Faf de Klerk out injured, who should start at scrumhalf for the Springboks against Wales on 6 November?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Herschel Jantjies
35% - 1193 votes
Cobus Reinach
62% - 2107 votes
Grant Williams
4% - 125 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.85
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
20.44
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.21
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.15
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.2%
Gold
1,789.35
-0.2%
Silver
24.06
-0.4%
Palladium
2,025.00
+0.5%
Platinum
1,027.50
-0.3%
Brent Crude
86.40
+0.5%
Top 40
61,025
0.0%
All Share
67,615
0.0%
Resource 10
63,620
0.0%
Industrial 25
87,147
0.0%
Financial 15
14,027
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE