Home | News    Thursday 18 March 2010

Sudan’s Bashir threatens to fire doctors on strike over pay

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March 17, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has reportedly ordered the ministry of health to fire specialized physicians who have officially gone on week-long strike to press the government to pay back wages and improve their working conditions.

The independent Al-Sahafa newspaper quoted an unidentified source as saying that the strike, which is the first of its kind among this profession in years, has included specialized doctors all over the country including Port Sudan, Al-Obaid, Kosti, Kassala, Al-Gadaref, Kadugli, Al-Fasher, Dongola and the Red Sea.

Exceptions to the strike were in Al-Sha’ab hospital and those in the Southern states. The emergency rooms were also excluded but one of the lead doctors on this move in an interview with UN sponsored Miraya FM radio, threatened a comprehensive strike should any of their peers is assaulted or harassed by the authorities.

Nahid Mohamed Al-Hassan, one of the female doctors, took an extra step and went of food strike to protest the ultimatum made by Bashir which expired Wednesday morning. Al-Hassan said on a video uploaded to You Tube website that she felt "ashamed" that the government has resorted to violence instead of resolving their problems.

"He [Bashir] does not know that all Sudan is on strike, in twenty five major cities...people are suffering because of this strike. We would have expected that this government would possess some transparency, some integrity, some manners so that things do not deteriorate further" she said.

Al-Hassan said that doctors are left with few options including resignation or moving to work abroad adding that she feels that she is doing this for the Sudanese people and that she is prepared to die from hunger until the doctors get an apology and their rights reinstated.

She expressed fury over what she called attempts by the governments to defame the doctors who went on strike by saying that they have political agendas.

The doctors claim they have 20 million pounds in back wages and also want a pay increase and improving housing and work environment. A ministry of finance official told the London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper that they have broken up the past due wages into three installments with the last one to be satisfied next month and dismissed the strike as political in nature.

The health ministry downplayed the impact of the strike saying that they a committee is working on examining the restructuring of wages and will submit recommendations to the government saying this will take some time. The state health minister Hassan Abu-Aisha said that the strikers were fearful over the chances of a new government coming after the April elections.

Tabita Boutros, the health minister said in press statements that they are able to cover any gaps resulting from the strike.

The doctors have challenged Bashir to fire them saying "they have a cause". The intervention by Bashir in this forceful manner is seen as rare given his policy in recent years to avoid tarnishing his image in appearing to take unpopular decisions particularly when he is running for elections.

Observers say that the government is torn between putting the issue to bed in an election year by agreeing to meet the demands and opening the door for a precedent that would encourage other sectors to make similar move. Many government employees such as teachers and railroad workers have been complaining about back wages and working conditions despite an economic boom in the oil producing nation.

Many citizens have been critical of what they view as "irresponsible" spending by the government on unnecessary items rather than focusing on basic needs of the people.

The strike will likely paralyze large part of hospitals in the country. The US State Department currently discourages its citizens with medical conditions from traveling to Sudan saying that medical facilities in Khartoum fall short of US standards and that outside the capital, very few facilities exist and hospitals and clinics are poorly equipped

(ST)

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  • 18 March 2010 07:34, by Sala Gai

    Dear Mr president Omar Bashir

    Your illiterate will lead Sudanese to another African union is not series due their to supporting you crisis of Dar-far which lead many people out side of country for your wrong politics

    My dear Southern we are to work for unity of Southern Sudan nor Sudan due to what have experience in twenty dace of war were many weakness through people with big heart of leadership came in the difference in the Party and SPLM/SPLA in few year ago which crack down many families and living empty place of livestock that made more crisis upto now .

    Long live strong heart

    Long live heart of development

    long live heart of people and country to all

    Long live good memory rather than wrong memory

    Long live good politic

    Long live good leadership.

    Those gone together because of the performance of good record in the following.

    By Salah Gai

    repondre message

  • 18 March 2010 07:39, by David_N

    The Khartoum should focus on education, build more hospitals, schools, and city wide transportations from all four corners into the world, re-build port sudan red sea resourts for tourist destinations, and connect the port with Eilat, Yisrael and Aqqaba resorts of Jordan and then sharm el-sheik in tip of Sinai Peninsula.
    The more large port should rebuild in between Port Sudan or Suakin.
    The Halaib is too far north, so it is not important, give back to Egypt.

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    • 18 March 2010 08:12, by David_N

      Definition:
      The Four Corners of the Worlds stands between Baghdad to Nouakchot.
      So, don’t worry!
      Actually,

      "I Don’t Want to Have UNITY..."

      NEVER, NEVER, and NEVER!

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  • 18 March 2010 07:41, by Nuerfudinka

    ’what’s the hell is she?unprofessional writers on this article you get to differentiated between she/he/his.

    NO UNITY WITH NORTH!!!

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  • 18 March 2010 07:46, by Moses Kur Akech

    I don’t think threatening citizens who want their lives improved is morally a wise move, listening to their concerns is essential. The response shows dictatorial culture still largely exists in the Sudan government even though many voices are contemporarily bypassing the government’s culture of silencing opposing views.

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    • 18 March 2010 09:36, by Kon Paul Awenchol

      the democratic transformation in Sudan wish to forbidden such pagan soul habit exprience.the fugative president compaigning in defaint around Sudan corridors still beleive in millitary habit.what brought threatening when doctors are making strike for their right? the president will remain as a big cock of NCP political cocaphony in Sudan rather than to played international politics.the indicted president remain in every silent after luanching his compaign just an hour,the NCP leader telling Sudan community that,he will improve health care,build good schools,water,electricity,roads, insecruity,peace,stability in Sudan throught Sudan corridors,improve labour, education at high standard and so forth.what a big foolish lier playing in people minds in Sudan,your time have already gone,you hope that you will never win this Election.See this man inorder for him to solves these burning issues smoothly,he hope to threat the minister of health,please be patience.the day of right men have arrive.politics is the cement that hold the diverse community and their goal to leave togather.

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      • 18 March 2010 09:56, by sheeple

        As a true Christian, Unity with a malevolent race who worships a cruel god is not an option.

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  • 18 March 2010 10:07, by Hillary B.M.L,M

    Omar is right

    Because if those Doctors can understand, why they gone striking instead of sitting down and discuss the issues together with Ministries concern, or 1. good method is this, demand your dues( Rights) while continuing work than rest at Home and leaving Patients dying or 2. refer your case to legal Authority who will act as middleman while working.

    Some time People blame Government (President,Minister, Governor, commissioner etc ) on the things that are obviously wrong yet they think are right.

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    • 18 March 2010 14:27, by Aparana

      It is indeed the first time that, the federal ministry of health has performed greatly under the SPLM’s Dr.Tabitha Butrus Shokai. Khartoum health facilities have witness positive changes, mother and child care have improved. But there are some voices struglling to let Dr. Tabitha down.Therefore, Bishir is right in this.

      Aparana.

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  • 18 March 2010 18:35, by Kuany Dak

    Doctors have a right to strike over pay. Bashir, it is election time if you have fired doctor who protest for this right, it would be difficult for you to win this election.

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    • 18 March 2010 22:47, by ismail

      This is not a President that you can say he’s because there’s no president speaking by anger to the people those he representative,the president must be flexible, kind, lovely,to let the people love him,he’s barking like dog in front of the people,
      If you realize he like to frighten the people that he’s a president,

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