CAIRO: Thousands of administrative doctors began on Tuesday a partial strike in hospitals and centers affiliated with the Ministry of Health, in a new escalation against the government due to the Cabinet’s reluctance in applying the medical professions cadre law, according to a High Committee of the Doctors Strike statement.
The strike included all the government’s hospital, health insurance centers and health units, and applies to all Egyptian physicians, whether appointed, contract-based or delegates.
The striking doctors are demanding a nine percent increased in the Health Ministry budget, as well as the improvement of public hospitals. They also demanded the implementation of financial and administrative changes approved in May 2012 by the Doctors Syndicate general assembly.
Striking doctors are now refraining from issuing any private medical certificates that are required for a range of purposes including obtaining a driving license, pilgrimage visas, marriage, and overseas employment. The strike does not include the issuance of certificates of birth, death and vaccination.
Head of the Doctors Strike Coordinating Committee Ahmed Shousha told Youm7 that the clinics are committed to issuing the medical certificates required for marriage, Umrah (the minor Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca), and travelling abroad, on Monday and Thursday of each week so as not to delay citizens.
The number of doctors participating in the ongoing strike has exceeded more than 70 percent in all public medical facilities, Shousha said, adding that the strike would not end until their demands are met.
“The Doctors Syndicate is tasked with protecting the striking doctors in accordance with the general assembly decisions, which ordered that any person who violates the strike should be referred to discipline,” Shousha added.
Shousha also said the Doctors Syndicate’s general assembly ordered in February the collection of mass resignations from doctors employed by the Health Ministry, and is now collecting them from pharmacists and physicians.
The High Committee of the Doctors Strike statement in March stated that doctors are facing a state that “ignores the medical sector,” and described Health Ministry hospitals as “inadequate” in providing medical services.
Doctors began their first strike in May 2011, which included most public and several university hospitals. Their demands included raising the national health budget from three and a half percent to 15 percent of the state budget and a higher minimum wage.