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Doctors: ‘Sudanese Govt. not honouring commitments’

October 19 - 2016 KHARTOUM
File photo: Khartoum Teaching Hospital
File photo: Khartoum Teaching Hospital

The Sudanese Central Committee of Doctors complain that the government has not honoured its commitments in terms of the agreement the prompted them to lift their countrywide strike on Thursday.

Dr Hossam El Ameen El Badawi,, spokesman for the Committee told Radio Dabanga that “all options are open to the committee in the event of non-implementation of the agreement”.

He pointed out that a general assembly of doctors will be held to reach a final decision on tomorrow.

Dr El Badawi said the committee lifted the strike based on the commitment of the government to rehabilitate 22 emergency sections in hospitals, free treatment for children under five, free emergency treatment during the first 24 hours of hospitalisation, and reinstatement of doctors dismissed because of the strike.

He stressed the adherence of the doctors committee to the implementation of these demands. 

The Health Ministry has acknowledged shortcomings in the overall provision of health services coverage in all states of Sudan: 250 villages could not be reached and seven states suffer a severe shortage of doctors and health personnel.

Ministry

The Ministry mentioned that the doctors' strike included 13 demands. The Ministry began by implementing the Vice President’s guidelines for improving working conditions for doctors by asking the Finance Ministry to provide SDG1.5 million ($235,000) to improve the doctors ' hostels, and SDG15 million ($2.35 million) to train 1,500 doctors.

Strike

On 6 October, medical professionals in various cities in the country embarked on an open-ended strike, in protest against repeated attacks on doctors and medical professionals. They demanded protection while working, a pay rise, and better working conditions. A week later the medical staff of 136 state hospitals had downed tools.

Many Sudanese medical associations supported the action, as well as Sudanese expat doctors in Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

The Sudanese Journalists’ Network also expressed support for the “legitimate demands of the doctors” and called on all media to reflect the causes of the doctors.

Press curbs

The security services however banned newspapers from publishing any news about the strike by forcing editors adopt a line hostile to the striking medics. In addition, the Sudanese security apparatus flooded the social media with confusing and conflicting reports about the doctors’ protest and demands.


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