Nigeria records high Covid-19 deaths as strike by doctors bites

Wednesday June 17 2020
By Nation Africa

Abuja,Nigeria has reported a record 31 coronavirus related deaths in 24 hours as the national doctors’ strike continues to bite.
The doctors have refused appeals from the government to return to work.
On June 16, 2020 Nigeria recorded 31 deaths, the highest number of fatalities in 24 hours.
The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) also confirmed 490 new cases, which brings the total number of infections to 17,148.
As the government worries over the spike, its meeting with the striking members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) ended in deadlock.
The more than 19,000 doctors started a nationwide strike on June 15, 2020 to actualise their demands including payment of hazard allowance, group life insurance and payment of minimum wage and consequential adjustment, among others.
Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige noted during the meeting with the doctors that health workers are the essential frontline officers during the Covid-19 pandemic and have suffered great mishaps.
“It is important to let you know that we have reached an agreement in many areas and the government side have shown evidence on the payment of the hazard and inducements allowances,” he told the union.
“We have paid those allowances since last night and it was directly paid into the account of recipients. So, we are hopeful that between the IPPIS office and the Central Bank, that before 24 hours they would all be credited for April and May.
“The payment is not for only resident doctors but also for consultants, nurses, pharmacists, physiologist, mortuary attendants, ICU centres, and all healthcare workers in Covid-19 designated hospitals and all federal medical centres in designate states,” Dr Ngige said.
Health Minister Ehanire Osagie said that Nigeria is the first country in the world where doctors went on strike during a global pandemic.
“The health of Nigerians is very important at this crucial time. We are ready to protect the lives of Nigerians; we are not going to allow our hospitals to fallow. We have pleaded and we have done everything to meet the demands that they have placed on the table,” Dr Osagie said.
And speaking on behalf of the doctors, NARD President Aliyu Sokomba said they would suspend the strike only when government comes up with tangible evidence of meeting their demands.