(SMC) Efforts by the Sudanese Doctors Union and the Specialized Medical Association have succeeded in coming to an agreement and to call off the limited strike that took place last week after meeting with the presidency and agreeing on solutions that satisfy all sides.
On Thursday a meeting at the presidential palace with Vice President Hassabo Abdul Rahman took place where directives were issued by the vice-president to introduce a bill to the parliament to protect doctors, improve training conditions for registrars and improve the general work environment in hospitals.
The Minister of Health Bahar Idriss Abu Garda announced that efforts and agreements have been reached including to immediately rehabilitate the major hospitals in the country, pointing out that the Vice President has directed the relevant authorities to return all doctors dismissed from work due to the current strike or previous sit-ins, stressing that the meeting set a week from Thursday as a deadline to implement what they have agreed with the government.
The healthcare is suffering from shortages including health services despite the ministry spending over 80 percent of its budget on hospitals and that the cost of proving free treatments is over 100 million USD.
President of the Sudanese Doctors Union Abdulatif Ashmiq issued a decision to form an initiatives committee headed by Professor Babikr Jabir Kabalo Secretary General of the Sudanese Medical Association and to end the doctors’ partial strike and to follow up on agreements.
Reporters from the SMC toured the major hospitals across Khartoum and noted that the strike was limited and patients only complained of having to wait longer than usual to see a medical practitioner.
“I did not go on strike as this is a humanitarian profession. My values do not allow me to turn away a patient. There are other means to solve problems,” Sara Abdullah, a 28 year old doctor at Khartoum Hospital said.
Interviewed patients reported slower services but generally medical care was not majorly disrupted by the limited strike.
Humanity Triumphs over Politics
Political forces refused to make the medical issue into a political one. A few political parties had tried to hijack the strike and use it to make the political gains they failed to make for decades. This move was rejected by patients and medical practitioners.
“Taking advantage of the people’s basic right to healthcare to make political gains is something we reject,” said Ayman Ahmed Ibrahim, a general medical practitioner in Omdurman hospital.
Trying to politicize the issue were political parties behind what is called the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, an independent committee.
While rejecting any targeting or attack on medical practitioners Amin Omar Ahmed a political analyst adds, “It is against the basic morals of this profession to turn away a patient when he is ill and in need of medical care. It’s unethical and Sudanese doctors have a reputation in the region to be amongst the most caring, professional and ethical doctors. “
“The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors does not represent the doctors of Sudan and their motives are not to ensure the best medical care for patients,” a source close to the committee told the SMC.
The National Congress Party denounced the strike. Khartoum State Minister of Health Mamoun Humaida said the opposition-backed strike is highly politicized urging doctors to choose their profession over politics.
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