CAIRO: In a demonstration by Doctors Without Rights at the Doctors’ Syndicate Sunday, 40 demonstrators protested against new rules that would put an end to university-funded postgraduate studies.
Dr Mona Mina, spokesperson of the group, and Dr Nagah Abdel Rehim explained that they only found out “by accident” about the formation of a new accreditation body — “The National Egyptian Assembly for Medical Practice Qualifications” — that will be tasked with issuing medical licenses.
The postgraduate studies authority affiliated to the Ministry of Health and which used to issue these licenses before, will now only cater to university staff.
“No for wasting money on medical committees and fake exams; yes to using the money for resources for medical schools and hospitals,” read one of the banners at the protest, referring to the introduction of a written exam as part of the licensing process, which the protestors found unnecessary and vague.
Hossam Kamal, a 26- year-old resident doctor in the intensive care department at Mansoura University, said that for the past 10 years, the post graduate studies program of the Ministry of Health was subsidized by the European Union, but now that the subsidy has run dry, “they want to form this new body where doctors have to finance their own studies for no less than LE 5,000.”
Doctors Without Rights has been campaigning for higher salaries for at least three years.
“I have been working for 20 years and my salary does not exceed LE 560. I work a 12-hour morning shift for only LE 7,” added Nagah.
One banner read: “How can a specialist live and improve his scientific status on LE 800 and a bonus?”
Abdel-Raouf Omar and Mahmoud Kamel, fifth year medical students at Cairo University, said that the situation of general practitioners and specialists is particularly unsatisfactory.
“We need more clinical training for our last year, and more material in the classes.”