Doctors’ strike continues in hospitals for third day
An empty hospital - YOUM7/Kareem Abdul Aziz

CAIRO: Pharmacists, physicians and dentists have continued their open partial strike in hospitals and bodies affiliated to the Ministry of Health on Monday, for the third day in a row, in opposition to the adoption of an incentives law.

The strike includes all hospitals and institutions under the Ministry of Health, such as educational, general, and central hospitals, as well as non-emergency operations. The strike did not include police and armed forces hospitals, or children’s hospitals and emergency rooms.

More than 100,000 doctors, pharmacists, and veterinarians have partaken in a partial strike in public hospitals since January. The strike has been suspended for short periods, but was resumed on Feb. 12, and again on March 8.

Doctors have held partial strikes in public hospitals and clinics twice a week, which were scheduled to end by the end of February. However, head of the High Committee for the Doctors’ Strike Ahmed Shosa announced on Feb. 26, during the syndicate’s press conference, the resumption of the open partial strike, to begin on March 8 if their demands were not met.

Doctors have demanded reforms in the healthcare system and more rights and security regarding their profession, also objecting the former Ministry of Health’s implementation of the newly adopted incentives’ project, which was implemented in the place of a preferred bill designating the salaries for medical professionals.

Former Minister of Health Maha Rabat was replaced last month by the new minister Adel al-Adawy, but the strike has nonetheless been resumed.

Adawy visited the medical organizations and establishments early March, and during his visit, he stated that the government is studying amending the law for medical professionals’ salaries. He noted that he will negotiate with the General Medical Syndicate and the other bodies that organized the strike, in an attempt to settle the dispute.

“I will study the entire salaries law to determine the controversial articles, in order to reach solutions that satisfy all sides,” Adawy told Youm7 on March 2, additionally promising to improve medical services for citizens.

Nearly 80 percent of publicly employed dentists partook in the strike 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 the Doctors’ Strikes to The Cairo Post.

“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 told The Cairo Post on Saturday.

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