NARD brain drain
The logo for the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

NARD Strike: Patients Relieved as Doctors Resume Work in Lagos

Days after Members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors suspended the strike they embarked upon on July 26, 2023, patients seeking treatment at some public hospitals in Lagos State are happy as they have been able to access medical care.

In recent times, the nation’s medical establishments had been destabilised by a series of industrial actions.

NARD had embarked on industrial action on July 26, following the failure of the Federal Government to meet their demands.

The strike had crippled health services in tertiary hospitals and Federal Medical Centres nationwide.

The association had directed its members to resume on Aug. 12, after “A very fruitful meeting” with lawmakers, led by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio.”

Also, the Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos Zone, on August 2, had also directed medical doctors in three government hospitals on Lagos Island to embark on an indefinite strike following the death of Dr. Vwaere Diaso.

The NMA directive to doctors in all other government hospitals in the state to scale down activities and attend to only emergency cases for the next five days was as a mark of respect to the deceased.

Dr. Diaso, a medical house officer with the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, died on August 1, as a result of injuries sustained when the elevator she was in crash-landed.

A visit to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and the Igando General Hospital showed that normalcy had returned to clinical services at the facilities.

Read Also: Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – NARD

At the Igando a pregnant woman, Mrs. Oluwaseyi Odunayo, commended the truce reached by the doctors and FG, noting that patients suffered more any time there is industrial action.

She appealed to the Federal and state governments to ensure prompt resolution of issues leading to perennial strikes in the nation’s health sector.

“I came to the hospital on August 4, but couldn’t see the physician. I was told they were on strike and that those on the ground can only attend to emergency cases.

“More efforts should be put into improving the health sector as it will help people get timely, high-quality health care services that will promote well-being,” she said.

Mr. Vincent Akpan, a trader, also appealed for the acrimony to cease between doctors and the government, stressing that patients’ safety should be prioritised in healthcare delivery systems across the country.

He said constant strikes by health professionals affect access to healthcare, increase strain on remaining staff, disrupt appointments and worsens morbidity.

“My appointments at LASUTH in the last four months have been affected by various strikes. From the Association of Resident Doctors to NUAHP, and then the five days strike declared by Nigerian Medical Association to mourn the doctor that died in the elevator accident.

“All this time, I have been going to a private hospital in my area but the cost of accessing care there is higher. So, I am glad to see normalcy return to clinical operations at LASUTH,” he said.

Also, a retiree that came for treatment at the Diabetes Clinic, LASUTH, Mrs. Adenike Adenola, said that incessant strikes could erode public confidence in the healthcare system.

According to her, the government and medical professionals should find an amicable solution to perennial strikes in the interest of patients and the public