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Covid -19 centres’ doctors ordered to join striking colleague

The National Association of Resident Doctors has ordered doctors at the COVID-19 isolation centres to join the nationwide strike it began on April 1.

The NARD has also threatened to impose a fine of N5m on any of its branches which fails to join the strike.

It also said branches found wanting would not be able to hold any national position for the next two years.

While the President of NARD, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, disclosed the directive to doctors at the isolation centres, the threat to impose a N5m fine on errant branches was contained in an an internal memo sent out to members by the National Executive Council of the association.

Recall that NARD, an association of doctors undergoing residency training, had on April 1 begun a nationwide strike over government’s failure to pay salaries of house officers and review N5,000 hazard allowance of doctors.

Last-minute efforts on March 31 by the Federal Government to prevent the strike failed as the doctors shunned an agreement they signed with government on the grounds that proposals contained in it were not new.

On April 1, there were reports that members of the association at the COVID-19 isolations did not join the strike on compassionate grounds.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the strike, which entered its fifth day on Monday, might be taking its toll on the COVID-19 response.

Okhuaihesuyi said doctors at the isolation centres, who are their members, were asked to join the strike because of the importance of this particular industrial action.

“I know some people may think we are selfish but this strike is about improving the health sector and improving service delivery,” he said.

The NARD President, however, said consultant doctors should be able to handle emergencies at the isolation centres for now.

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