CAIRO: The percentage of striking dentists reached nearly 80 percent on Saturday, in hospitals and clinics affiliated to the Ministry of Health, according to the numbers provided by Mohamed Abdul Latif, a member of the High Committee for Doctors’ Strikes.
However, strikers are facing a major obstacle: the pressure exercised on them by their superiors to end their strikes continues to build, with no evidence that their demands will be met. The committee in charge of the dentists’ strike said it has received many complaints on the matter.
“For instance, dentists on strike filed an official complaint to the medical syndicates’ disciplinary council, against the manager of Matariya Teaching Hospital and the director of the health insurance sector in East Delta, for attempting to force dentists to carry on with their work and threatening to refer them to investigations,” Abdul Latif told The Cairo Post on Saturday.
The strikes are partial, which means that doctors close their clinics but maintain certain services available to patients, especially in emergency cases. Moreover, they organize their shifts by requesting more doctors for assistance in mornings, to take off some of the work load on doctors.
The dentists’ strike is part of a larger movement of strikes, which were launched by doctors and pharmacists months ago demanding reforms in the healthcare system, more labor rights that guarantee better job security, and rejecting the former Minister of Health’s incentives law.
“We sat with the new minister on March 5 and informed him of our demands, and further demanded the end of abuse against doctors on strikes. We are now waiting to see how the new ministry will proceed,” Abdul Latif added.
In the past months, conflicts mounted between the syndicates and the Health Ministry, which pushed doctors on strike to call for Maha Rabat’s resignation. On the one hand, syndicates have accused the ministry of failure to respond to their demands, while on the other hand the ministry has been pressuring syndicate members by referring them to investigations.
However, their strikes show no signs of letting up, having been suspended only in response to promises of reform, which have as yet to be met in the eyes of the majority of medical professionals.