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Egypt's Wasat Party backs doctors' strike

Wasat Party spokesman says doctors' demands to increase health appropriations, ensure better health service and higher pay are 'legitimate'; announces support for 1 October partial strike

Ahram Online, Wednesday 26 Sep 2012

Egypt's moderate Islamist Wasat Party voiced its support, Wednesday, for a planned partial strike by Egypt's doctors slated for 1 October, noting in a public statement that the doctors' demands are "legitimate."

Wasat Party spokesperson Amr Farouk said the party has been contacting people involved including the head of the Doctors' Syndicate to get to the bottom of the crisis.

The major demands include increasing health appropriations to 15 per cent of state budget, providing better health services to citizens, ensuring police guard health facilities as well as higher pay.

On Friday, thousands of doctors attended a general assembly meeting of the Doctors' Syndicate in Cairo, where they agreed to hold a semi-open strike starting the beginning of next month.

Mr Farouk called upon President Mohamed Morsi and his cabinet to take any necessary administrative measures to improve doctors' conditions and to assure them that their demands will be fulfilled in the near future.

However, he acknowledged that Egypt is currently fraught with major economic woes that might delay plans to answer all the grievances put forward recently.

On Saturday, head of the Arab Doctors' Union and eliminated presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh also backed the partial strike.

President Morsi is scheduled to meet with a number of Doctors' Syndicate representatives on Saturday to look into their grievances.

Last year, doctors carried out two nationwide strikes in May and September but failed to have their demands met during negotiations with the authorities.

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