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Kordofan doctors continue strikes despite pressure

January 4 - 2019 EL OBEID
Sudanese doctors and/or medical workers photographed with banners during the general strike of doctors (RD)
Sudanese doctors and/or medical workers photographed with banners during the general strike of doctors (RD)

Doctors in the capital of North Kordofan have continued a strike against the attacks and arrests against their colleagues for the sixth consecutive day yesterday.

In a statement the Central Sudanese Doctors’ Committee said that interns at El Obeid Hospital were threatened to resume work before the end of their training period. The threats were made by figures that were not mentioned by name in the statement.

Doctors were also pressured to resume work by cutting off the water and electricity from the doctors’ residences.

A witness reported that the internship administration based in Khartoum made tempting offers to new hospital interns to start working and break the strike in El Obeid. “But so far people have rejected the offer.”

The Central Sudanese Doctors’ Committee considered the move by the internship administration as “a cheap attempt to break the strike” and it called upon hospital workers not to succumb to this pressure.

'Doctors targeted'

Sudanese doctors have not only been treating those caught up in the violence, but also leading some protests. Channel 4 (UK) anonimously interviewed a doctor in Sudan who claimed that the security service deliberately arrested medics in Khartoum. “Wounded protesters end up in hospital. If you take out the doctors, you cripple the protests,” the doctor claimed.

Doctor strikes

Doctors started striking in several Sudanese states last week. Together with medical students of the Faculty of Medicine in El Gedaref they held a protest in front of El Gedaref Teaching Hospital in solidarity with the march organised by the Sudan Professionals Association in Khartoum on December 26. Witnesses from El Gedaref said that security forces and policemen forced the doctors to enter the hospital again before blocking traffic to the main road to the hospital.

Doctors in Kassala Hospital notified authorities on December 25 that they will only deal with emergencies. The same day, doctors and lawyers in Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, organised two separate protest vigils. The vigils were dispersed by police using tear gas.

On December 31, the security service in Sennar used tear gas to break up a peaceful march called by lawyers to hand over a memorandum. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga from Sennar that the march was joined by dozens of doctors, to hand over a memorandum to the judiciary demanding the regime to step down.

The Sudanese Central Pharmacists Committee, in cooperation with the Community Pharmacists Committee and the Department of Pharmacy Owners announced a general strike and closure of all pharmacies in Khartoum state last week, in solidarity with the doctors and mass protests.

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