Doctors who work in state-run hospitals in Nigeria are set to return to work after calling off a strike. The strike was led by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which represents about 40% of doctors in the country.
Health professionals have been lamenting many challenges, including low salaries and a lack of protective equipment.
Doctors also complain of inadequate treatment facilities as Nigeria’s coronavirus case count continues to rise.
NARD decided to lay down tools last Monday but has rescinded its decision.
Speaking after calling off the strike, Aliyu Sokomba, president of NARD, said the federal government has shown commitment.
He said the strike was called off to allow the state time to meet the doctors’ demands.
He said the government has two weeks to meet their demands or another strike could soon hit the country.
“The NEC [National Executive Council] of the association has resolved that the strike be suspended because nobody has received a dime anyway. But … we have received a commitment from the government,” Sokomba told Agence France Presse.
“We always give them time to do what they want. We have asked them what time they want and they say two weeks. We are giving them two weeks.”
Nigeria has about 42,000 doctors, of whom 16,000 are residents or housemen – medical school graduates training as specialists.
The doctors disclosed their demands months ago before carrying out the threat to embark on a strike.
Among the things they are looking for are payment of unsettled wages, life insurance coverage and a pay increase.
They also want the government to supply them with urgently needed protective equipment and to stock the hospitals with beds and drugs.
Medics treating coronavirus patients also took part in the week-long strike, which started on Monday.
On Wednesday Nigeria’s minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, described the strike as “ill timed and ill advised”.