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Doctors threaten to strike, patients complain about shortages

August 14 - 2018 EL GEDAREF
Jafar Ibn Ouf Children's Hospital in Khartoum (Jason Patinkin)
Jafar Ibn Ouf Children's Hospital in Khartoum (Jason Patinkin)

Doctors in El Gedaref have threatened to start a strike against the inability of the state Ministry of Health to respond to their demands regarding working environment and payment of dues.

The doctors also demanded an improvement of the subsistence and meals they receive at work, in addition to the improvement of work shifts. They have given the ministry three days to respond, otherwise they will enter into a strike.

Meanwhile patients have renewed their complaints about the shortages of diabetes medicine, asthma sprays, and treatment of thyroid, as well as psychiatric, neurological and epilepsy medicines.

Medicines unaffordable

A patient in El Gedaref told Radio Dabanga that the price of medicines for chronic blood pressure and diabetes has risen to SDG1,000 ($35,52*), medicine for respiratory infections from SDG100 to SDG279 ($9,90) and malaria medicine to SDG180 ($6,40).

In addition, pharmaceutical companies have stopped selling drugs to pharmacies with facilities or premiums. Pharmacists speaking to this station said that the pharmaceutical companies decided to deal only in cash, which has made pharmacies reluctant to buy or reduce their share.

A number of pharmaceutical companies in Sudan have confirmed the scarcity of several medicinal products in the country. More than 200 types of medicines have become completely unavailable. Pharmaceutical companies are now forced to import medicine first and obtain the currency later, as banks in Sudan refuse to open credit or grant foreign currency. Most foreign and local companies, however, refuse to provide medicines without receiving payment in advance.

Earlier this month, a listener told Radio Dabanga that health insurance does not cover some high-price medicines so many patients cannot afford to buy them, prompting the villagers to resort to traditional herbal medicine.

* Based on the indicative US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CboS)

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