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Egypt's doctors resume partial strike for expanded national healthcare

Doctors resume partial strike at Egyptian hospitals on Sunday after three-day suspension; Doctors' Syndicate leader to meet PM Hisham Qandil to discuss healthcare system reforms

Ahram Online , Sunday 7 Oct 2012
Doctor's strike leader Mona Mina at press conference, Monday (Photo: Zeinab El Gundy )

Egypt's doctors have resumed their strike on Sunday after a three-day suspension.

The strike, which began on 1 October, was temporarily halted on Thursday in order to treat patients with chronic conditions.

The strike committee of the Doctors' Syndicate met on Saturday to discuss the strike's resumption.

The partial strike does not include university, police and army hospitals, or emergency rooms.

Mona Mina, a leading member of the syndicate, confirmed to Ahram Online on Sunday morning that the partial strike would continue and if their demands were not met by Thursday they would escalate their activities with a call for mass resignations.

Syndicate head, Khairy Abdel-Daim, is expected to meet Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and other officials on Sunday to discuss financial and administrative reforms to the healthcare system.

In a statement released on Thursday, the syndicate praised the strikers' steadfastness in the face of "failed attempts" by the health ministry to end the strike "through false statements and threats against doctors," and claimed the nationwide strike had been a success.

However, the health ministry said on Tuesday that the number of doctors participating in the strike had declined by some 15 per cent compared to Monday, as hospital outpatient clinics were functioning at 73.3 per cent capacity on Tuesday, compared to only 53.7 per cent on Monday.

The syndicate announced that 50.6 percent of state-run hospitals across 21 governorates had taken part in the strike on Monday.

The strikers have been calling for 15 per cent of the state budget, instead of the current 5 per cent, to be allocated to health, an improvement in doctors' salaries, and an improvement in security at hospitals and medical centres which have been the target of recent attacks.  

There are approximately 100,000 doctors working at state-run hospitals in Egypt.

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