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article imageSudan doctors demand protection in nationwide strike

By AFP     Oct 6, 2016 in World

Doctors at Sudanese government hospitals held a nationwide strike on Thursday to demand better facilities, higher wages and protection from security forces, medics and an AFP correspondent reported.

The Federal Committee of Doctors said medics at government hospitals were handling only emergency cases following the launch of the strike action on Thursday morning.

"It's been five hours since the strike commenced. Reports indicate that the strike is nationwide," the committee said in a statement.

An AFP correspondent saw doctors protesting at several government hospitals in Khartoum, and similar reports came from West Darfur, North Darfur, Jazira and Sennar states.

"Our strike is for the good of patients," and "We want to feel secure while working," were among the slogans on banners carried by doctors in the capital.

Thursday's action was in protest at low wages, deteriorating services and a rise in attacks on doctors by both the security forces and relatives of patients.

"We are complaining because there is no proper equipment at hospitals," Wafa Ali, a doctor at a south Khartoum hospital told AFP.

"The hospitals are not properly maintained ... even the emergency rooms are not clean."

Another doctor, Osama Ahmed, said that medical staff had come under increasing pressure in recent years.

"We have been complaining for a long time about the work atmosphere in hospitals," he said.

"We want to feel secure when we work ... Patients too are suffering because there is no proper equipment and that puts pressure on us."

In recent weeks, Sudanese media have reported several attacks on doctors by policemen or angry relatives of patients.

The failings of the public health system have led to a boom in the private sector, which now counts more than 1,400 hospitals nationwide.

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