The first joint strike action by medical professionals in Egypt’s public health service has won the backing of thousands of doctors, dentists, pharmacists and vets. According to figures compiled by the Higher Strike Committee in the Doctors’ Union, 80% of staff eligible to strike in the Health Ministry Hospitals joined the action over the weekend. Participation rates were also high in many of the provinces.
The strike, which began on 8 March, is raising demands for improvements to the national pay framework for the medical professions and a rise in spending on health to 15% of the state budget.
Dr Ahmed Farash, a member of the strike committee in Daqahiliyya said “our fight is not with the families of poor patients, but with the government which is deliberately impoverishing the medical team and the health system, so as not to compete with the private sector, which is the greatest beneficiary from the deterioration of the public health service in Egypt. The state is abandoning its basic role in providing treatment for citizens and particularly for the poor.”
Emergency services, maternity services and dialysis are exempt from strike action in order to protect the lives of poor patients who depend on government hospitals for treatment.
Read more background here.
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