Doctors working in Sudan’s government hospitals are on strike for the second day running. They are demanding better working environments, the provision of proper equipment and protection from repeated attacks on them in hospitals and health centres. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) confirmed that 99.7 per cent of hospitals and thousands of doctors in all provinces are participating in the strike. However, the Federal Ministry of Health played down the impact of the strike on the functioning of the hospitals and said that the shortage of doctors was made up for in more than 50 hospitals.
CCSD Spokesperson Dr Hossam Al-Amin Al-Badawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that “The strike that the Central Committee organised is linked to issues that have already been raised”. The doctors’ demands include the provision of medical equipment, improving the working environment and protecting doctors from repeated attacks on them during working hours, especially at the hands of those who belong to the regime’s forces. Al-Badawi also pointed out that doctors have raised their concerns to the Federal Ministry of Health several times in the past and did not receive a response. He confirmed that the number of public hospitals that have been participating in the strike since Thursday reached 56 and added “We will continue to strike until they respond to all the demands that we made, and we all are committed to the strike. However, we will attend to emergencies.”
Al-Badawi also stated that doctors who closed their private clinics are standing in solidarity with the strike. He rejected accusations made by the Minister of Health in Khartoum Dr Mamoun Hamida, who said that political parties are behind the strike, especially the Sudanese Communist Party. He also said that what was happening was “An attempt to disrupt the strike, intimidate doctors and scare them … We do not know the Communist party or the ruling National Congress… We have no political inclination. We have clear demands that all doctors want”.
On her part, the State Minister at the federal Ministry of Health Dr Sumaya Idris said that the strike did not stop hospitals from operating as usual and that her department made up for the shortage in more than 50 hospitals in Khartoum and other states. She added that the hospitals are operating well and pointed out that the issues that doctors are talking about, including protection from attacks, are being considered by the ministry and other relevant authorities in order to solve these issues.