As different countries of the world pool resources to combat the coronavirus crisis, doctors in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Tuesday announced they were proceeding with an “indefinite strike”.
The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Abuja chapter, announced their decision about an hour after the third case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.
The doctors said they deliberated extensively on the health threat posed by the coronavirus scare, their work conditions, and patient care before arriving at the “difficult decision.”
In a statement signed by its president, Roland Aigbovo, the association said the mass action followed the failure of the FCT administration to pay them their basic salaries for more than two months.
Mr. Aigbovo said their members have been thrown into financial distress due to the non-payment of their salaries and despite repeated warnings and ultimatum, nothing has been done by authorities.
The problems stem from a new payroll system introduced by the authorities in Abuja.
Other health workers at government-run hospitals in the city were also affected by the pay dispute and would be joining the strike in 48 hours if their demands “which are the same with ours are not met”, Mr. Aigbovo said.
He said there have been salary irregularities and shortfalls since the migration to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System by the FCTA.
The Lagos State Ministry of Health on Tuesday confirmed the third case of coronavirus in Nigeria.
Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, broke the news to journalists at the government secretariat Tuesday morning.
“This is a new case independent of the index case of a 30 year-old Nigerian, female, who returned from the UK on 13th March,” the commissioner said.
Mr. Abayomi said the patient, who initially showed symptoms of the infection, observed self-Isolation, and thereafter tested positive.
Although Nigeria has so far recorded three cases of the virus, only two are active. The second case, linked to the index case, later tested negative. (Source: BBC)