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Sudan’s doctors say their strike is widening

A striking doctor speaks to his colleagues, medical staff and patients in a Khartoum hospital on Thursday 6 October 2016 (ST photo)

October 7, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - In their second day of strike, Sudanese doctors in Khartoum say more practitioners across the country are joining their protest over lack of security and poor work conditions.

On Thursday, an independent doctors union, Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) announced that doctors will refuse non-emergency treatments to patients to protest the poor working conditions, lack of medicines medical material. They also demand protection after the increase of attacks by frustrated patients and their families.

CCSD Spokesperson Dr. Hossam al-Amin al-Badawi Friday told Sudan Tribune that "ten hospitals have joint the strike and five others are preparing to rally the protest on Saturday".

56 hospitals have participated in the strike since Thursday.

Al-Badawi pointed to the national character of the movement, saying that hospitals in Port Sudan, the capital of Red Sea and in Al-Nuhud of West Kordofan have joint the strike.

“The strike will be open-ended until our demands are met,” he stressed.

He said that 99.7% of the hospitals in Sudan are participating in the strike and stopped treating non-emergency cases, except Omdurman, Khartoum North and Haj-al-Safi hospitals, due to their specific conditions.

Al-Badawi further said that senior doctors have supported the strike by closing their private clinics.

“CCSD general assembly will meet on Friday evening in Khartoum North hospital for more coordination and consultation,” he added.

The strike was condemned by the government and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), as they minimized the impact of attacks on doctors. Also, Khartoum State Minister of Health Mamoun Humaida said the opposition-backed strike is highly "politicized"

Commenting on these accusations, al-Badawi pointed that such claims should not be said by a health official, adding it was an attempt to deny established facts.

“We have nothing to do with the Sudanese Communist Party or the ruling National Congress Party. We only know the federal and state ministries of health,” stressed al-Badawi.

He said that CCSD is for doctors’ social and professional demands and has nothing to do with politics.

On his part, the Chairman of General Union of Health and Medical Professions (GUHMP), Yasir Ahmed pointed that he did not accuse the Sudanese Communist Party of masterminding the strike, but he said the opposition party has misused the just demands of doctors.

Ibrahim further told Sudan Tribune that the GUHMP is negotiating with the striking doctors ways to end the strike, as "the government has started providing medical equipments and devices that worth millions of Sudanese pounds to hospitals in Khartoum and other states”.

(ST)