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People queue for a COVID-19 vaccine in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo: Emmanuel Osodi/Majority World/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Doctors at Nigeria's state-run hospitals began an indefinite strike Monday to protest low pay and inadequate facilities many doctors say they are working in.

Why it matters: The strike comes as COVID-19 cases numbers surge in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. July saw the nation's highest case numbers since March, sparking fears of a third wave, Bloomberg reports.

State of play: The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which called for the strike, represents more than 90% of doctors in Nigeria's teaching hospitals, per Bloomberg.

  • Resident doctors are pivotal to frontline care in Nigeria, as many work in hospital emergency wards, according to Reuters.

The big picture: NARD called the strike over unpaid salaries, COVID-19 hazard allowances, and insurance benefits to families of doctors who died of coronavirus, Al Jazeera reports.

  • NARD said some of its members are owed as much as 19 months' worth of salary pay by state governments, and that some hospitals have failed to give doctors the hazard stipend promised to those helping fight the virus, per Bloomberg.
  • The families of 19 doctors who have died of the virus have not received benefits from the government, Jerry Isogun, the general secretary of NARD, told Bloomberg.
  • NARD president Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi also decried the state of Nigeria's underfunded poorly equipped state-run hospitals, dubbing them "deplorable," in an interview with AFP, per Al Jazeera.

The Nigerian government has called the strike "hasty" and "appealed for restraint from NARD doctors," per Reuters.

What they're saying: “The nationwide strike started at 8am. It’s an indefinite strike,” NARD president Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi told the AFP news agency, per Al Jazeera. “There will be no exemption for doctors handling COVID-19 cases.”

  • “We appeal to Nigerians to bear with us. Doctors and their families are suffering," Okhuaihesuyi added. "We can no longer pay our bills because of [the] government’s insensitivity and neglect of our welfare.”

Go deeper

Updated Oct 26, 2021 - Health

Prime minister flags vaccine mandate for 40% of New Zealand workforce

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during an October COVID-19 briefing in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Robert Kitchin - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses, as the government pushes to reach a nationwide 90% vaccination target.

Why it matters: Under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, businesses must require vaccine certificates from customers if they're in close contact with them. Ardern said at a briefing Tuesday that such venues wishing to operate, including hair salons, bars, restaurants and gyms, must ensure staff is vaccinated.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 26, 2021 - Health

FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-to-11-year-olds

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel Tuesday endorsed a two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5–11. The final vote was 17 members in favor, with one member abstaining.

Why it matters: While not binding, the decision is a long-awaited step toward getting COVID vaccines in the arms of some of the youngest Americans potentially in time to get many fully vaccinated in advance of the holiday season.

Oct 27, 2021 - Health

Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. Photor: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Louisiana's statewide mask mandate is lifting for all settings except for some schools starting on Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced.

The big picture: The requirement has been in place since early August as the Delta variant surged across the state. Edwards tweeted Tuesday there had been a "sustained improvement across the state in new cases, test positivity & hospitalizations."

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