Egypt doctors launch 'Sell Myself' campaign to protest poor conditions
Ahram Online, Thursday 18 Apr 2013
'Ultras White Coats' resort to unusual methods to express discontent over what they describe as doctors' deteriorating status in Egypt

Members of the 'Ultras White Coats' (UWC), a group of Egyptian physicians who demand doctors' rights, spoke out on Wednesday – using novel methods – against what they describe as their deteriorating status.

Group members staged an event dubbed 'Sell Myself' as part of a planned series of events aimed at protesting low pay and "financial corruption at the Egyptian Doctors Syndicate and at Egypt's health ministry."

Not without irony, some doctors washed cars; others sold medical textbooks outside the headquarters of the doctors' syndicate in downtown Cairo.

"Doctors' daily salaries are less than those of beggars," the group said in a Wednesday statement on its official Facebook page.

"If our condition doesn't improve, we might be forced to sell our textbooks, coats and stethoscopes. We might end up washing cars," the statement added.

UWC was founded late last year following a nationwide strike by Egyptian physicians to call for doctors' rights.

The group said that Wednesday's event was modelled on a similar move by German doctors.

"We wanted to sell our [doctors'] certificates, too, but apparently they are valueless," said Amr El-Shoury, an active syndicate member and member of Egypt's 'Doctors without Rights' campaign.

Taher Mokhtar, spokesman for the Alexandria Doctors Syndicate, said the event aimed to highlight "the poor conditions Egyptian doctors currently face, the syndicate's neglect of their demands, and empty promises by the government."

"Doctors are human beings," he added. "They have put up with a lot. They are running out of patience."

Mokhtar warned of "imminent escalation" by frustrated doctors, whose anger, he said, had reached the boiling point.