Nigerian doctors suspend strike after talks

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Chris Ewokor BBC News, Abuja

Doctors in Nigeria have suspended their strike after holding talks with the authorities.

The doctors had downed their tools on Monday to demand a pay rise, better welfare and improved facilities. Those on the front-line on Covid-19 treatment had joined the strike.

The National Association of Resident Doctors (Nard), whose members make up 40% of doctors in the country, said it is calling off the strike to give government enough time to resolve their demands.

It said the government had met some of their demands – including getting life insurance for the medics.

This is a short respite for the government, but the association said they will review the situation after two weeks if the outstanding issues are not resolved.

The impact of the strike was already being felt – forcing the government to draft graduate doctors on their mandatory one year national service to replace the striking doctors in hospitals.

The government described the strike as ill-timed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been several strikes in Nigeria since the beginning of the pandemic, with doctors demanding better pay and personal protective equipment.