Demonstrations in front of doctors' syndicate (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
Egypt’s doctors are to hold a mock funeral procession in Cairo on Thursday as part of their ongoing 40-day strike for healthcare reforms.
The procession will depart from Omar Makram Mosque in Tahrir Square and finish at the Maspero state radio and television building.
The strike's general committee has called on medics, nurses, and grassroots activists to attend wearing black clothes, while doctors will be holding their white coats to represent shrouds.
The major demands of the striking doctors include an increase in health spending to 15 per cent of the state budget, better health services, increased security at health facilities and higher pay, said Ahmed Hussein, a General Doctors’ Syndicate board member.
Hussein said the open-ended 'free-of-charge treatment’ strike was maintaining its momentum.
Last Thursday, doctors staged a march from the Doctors’ Syndicate in downtown Cairo to the nearby health ministry.
Health ministry officials contend the strike has not affected the nation's hospitals, contradicting statements by strike organisers.
Last year, doctors carried out two nationwide strikes in May and September but failed to achieve their demands during negotiations with the authorities.
A number of political forces have voiced their support for Thursday’s procession, stating they are taking part to protest against deteriorating healthcare services and neglect by the government.
April 6 Youth Movement, Revolutionary Socialists, National Front for Justice and Democracy and Youth for Freedom and Justice are among the forces taking part in the procession
"Egypt has been seeing an increasing number of renal failures, cirrhosis and cancer cases, plus administrative failures, a lack of medicines and social justice, which has resulted in a significant deterioration in health services," said Ingy Hamdi, a board member of April 6 Youth Movement.