Hundreds of doctors’ interns from the Intern Doctors Movement demonstrated outside the Egyptian Ministry of Health in downtown Cairo on Sunday to demand better pay and work conditions.
According to protester Taher Mokhtar, member of the Alexandria Doctor's Union, demands include the reactivation of the takleef system, in which medical graduates are temporarily assigned to regional governorates as part of their training.
Protesters also demand that takleef postings be broadened to include assignments in the military, the police apparatus and the petroleum sector.
Protesting doctors also demand implementation of health ministry decision 197 of 2012, which calls for work bonuses for commissioned doctors.
Doctors complain that the ministry decision had been agreed upon by the health ministry, the Egyptian Doctor's Syndicate and the Intern Doctors Movement, but that it had yet to be formally applied.
Others taking part in Sunday’s protest included the ‘Doctor's without Rights’ and ‘Ultras White Coats’ movements.
Mokhtar told Ahram Online that Sunday’s demonstration was the “continuation” of an earlier 10 February protest in which doctors articulated the same demands. Protesters, however, had yet to receive a response from health ministry officials, Mokhtar said.
"In the event our demands are ignored once again, we are considering an open-ended sit-in in front of the ministry building,” asserted Mokhtar.
A number of Egypt's doctors have held protests and strikes within the past two years. Last November and December, the doctor's syndicate called a nationwide strike to demand an increase in public health spending, wage increases for doctors, better healthcare standards and increased security at hospitals.