Egypt's doctors start strike over healthcare reforms
Egypt's doctors are to start a partial strike Monday calling for an increase in the portion of the state budget apportioned to healthcare to 15 per cent and that Egypt would abide by international agreements and better its health system.
Members of the Doctors' Syndicate agreed to start a partial hospital strike during a syndicate meeting 21 September. The partial strike excludes emergency treatment and critical health services.
President Mohamed Morsi approved a minimum wage for doctors after a meeting with doctors' union leaders 22 September.
Meanwhile, doctors on strike also demand security guards inside hospitals, considering emergency rooms are seeing increased violence.
The state budget for healthcare currently stands at around five per cent. Doctors also want the state to immediately establish a doctors' cadre with a proper system of payscales and promotions.
Some rights organisations announced their support for the partial strike.
"There is no way for the health service to improve without an increase of the portion of the state budget for healthcare to 15 per cent, to ensure free health care for the people," said the statement released by rights groups supporting the strike.
The groups include: the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, El-Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, Cairo Centre for Human Rights Research, the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.
Doctors' unions carried out two nationwide strikes in May and September 2011, but the doctors did not achieve their demands in negotiations with authorities.
Egypt in recent years has witnessed an increase in labour strikes, particularly after the January 25 Revolution that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak on 11 February 2011. Labour grievances and mass strikes played an important role in the buildup to Egypt's revolution and in final the ouster of Mubarak.