The secretary general of the Egyptian Doctors Syndicate and Ministry of Health disagree on how many doctors are participating in a strike.
Secretary General Mona Mina said 55% of doctors were participating on Wednesday, while the Health Ministry’s Head of Clinical Medicine Hesham Atta said only 16.5% were participating.
The strike calls for health care reforms and better pay. Doctors have joined from Egyptian governorates including Cairo, Sharqiya, Gharbiya, Sohag, Qena, Beheira, Al Qalioubiya, Fayoum, and Kafr Al Shiekh, according to Ahram Arabic.
The Health Ministry said 514 hospitals had strikes in 86 outpatient clinics, saying that 10 governorates have not seen any strikes, and adding that the ministry’s crisis hotline has not received any complaints.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health and Population Maha Al-Rabat said in a press statement on Wednesday that a new pay scale will be approved soon by the interim president, and that pay increases will be received in coming months.
Doctors at public hospitals started a partial strike on Monday, excluding emergency services. They have gone on strike at least a few times since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Doctors and pharmacists also held one-day partial strikes on 1 and 8 January.
The doctors increased the duration of their strikes in February after their demands were not met.
The first nationwide strike by doctors took place in May 2011, covering most public and university hospitals. Their demands included raising the national health budget from 3.5 to 15 percent of the state budget and a higher minimum wage.