PROFILE: Mona Mina, new sec-gen of the Doctors Syndicate

Ahram Online, Friday 20 Dec 2013

The first non-Brotherhood syndicate head in decades is a campaigner for doctors' rights and improved healthcare

Dr Mona Mina
Dr Mona Mina (Photo: Dr Mona Mina Twitter account)

Mona Mina, a long time leftist activist, has become the first woman to win the seat of secretary-general of the Doctors Syndicate. She is also the first person who is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood to hold the office in decades.

Dr. Mina was born in 1958 to a Coptic Christian family with leftist leanings. She graduated from Cairo’s Ain Shams University, going on to specialise in paediatrics.

She is one of the founding members of activist group Doctors Without Rights, and through the group has become known for her efforts campaigning for better wages and working conditions for doctors and for improved public healthcare.

Founded in 2008, the group has called for an increase in the percentage of the state budget allocated to healthcare from the current 3.9 percent to 15 percent.

The group was one of the first doctors organisations to voice grievances and to hold sit-ins and protests during the presidency of Hosni Mubarak.  Mina was a leading figure in a nationwide doctors’ strike organised by the group in 2011.

Along with many of her colleagues, Mina participated in the protests during the 2011 revolution, setting up tents in Tahrir Square to receive injured protesters. She is also one of the founding members of Tahrir Doctors, a group which provided medical aid for the injured during the January 25 revolution, the protests against military rule which followed, and under president Mohamed Morsi.   

Mina has also been politically active beyond the scope of her profession, participating in several anti-regime protests in the Mubarak era. She was arrested in 2003 while participating in demonstrations against the war on Iraq.

In 2011 Mina played a leading role in the formation of the Independence list, a coalition of non-Brotherhood doctors which contested the Doctors Syndicate elections against the Brotherhood’s Doctors for Egypt list.

The Independence list was the first to break the monopoly the Brotherhood had had over the syndicate board for decades, and Mina herself garnered more than 14,000 votes, the highest in the general syndicate. She was one of the six Independence list candidates who was elected to the board, which numbers 24 members in total.

Last week, at the syndicate’s mid-term elections, the Independence list won the syndicate board's majority. Following that, Mina was voted secretary-general.

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