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Sudanese security agents release detained doctors

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November 22, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) released on Tuesday 11 of the 12 doctors it had detained for 20 days.

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Striking doctors meet at Khartoum Hospital on 20 oct 2016 (ST Photo)

The move came barely two days after the doctors called off their strike and ended their initial refusal to provide non-emergency treatment to patients.

In statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the independent doctors union, Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said NISS released 11 doctors, including CCSD’s Secretary General and spokesperson, but one of the doctors is still detained.

On Monday, CCDS called off an earlier strike planned up to the end of November and called for the release of the 12 detained doctors.

The pro-government Sudanese Doctors Union on Monday praised NISS’s response to its initiative to stop summoning doctors and for allowing the union visit those detained.

CCDS, in statement issued Tuesday, said NISS had released all the detained doctors except Dr. Jihad Abd- al-Monauim who remains detained for unknown reasons.

On 6 October, Sudanese doctors staged a strike and refused non-emergency treatments to patients to protest the poor working conditions, lack of medicines and protection of doctors after increasing attacks by frustrated patients and their families.

However, on 13 October, CCSD called off the strike following government pledges to introduce a bill to the parliament to protect doctors, improve training conditions for registrars and improve work environment in hospitals.

But on 8 November, CCSD announced a resumption of a two-day strike every week during November, saying the Sudanese government did not honour its commitments.

In a statement Sudan Tribune obtained on Saturday, CCSD said it decided to increase the number of days on which strike action would take place to three, saying the Health Ministry was dragging its feet into the implementation of the agreement.

“Fifteen days have passed and [we haven’t seen] anything new from the [Health Ministry] but further intransigence and lack of seriousness in dealing with our legitimate demands” read the statement.

The CCSD statement noted that the independent doctors union has submitted a memorandum to Sudan’s Vice President Hassabo Abd al-Rahman on the 13 October and that the presidency had pledged to implement 13 of its items immediately.

However, government did not meet its commitment to implement doctors’ demands to improve the health system and therefore doctors’ decided to resume strike in November to push for the meeting of their demands, according to CCSD’s statement.

Earlier in November, Amnesty International urged the Sudanese government to release 10 doctors arrested and to halt security summons to striking CCSD members.

(ST)

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