CAIRO: Egypt’s Doctors’ Coalition is preparing to hold an open strike starting Sept. 10 to demand the dismissal of the health minister’s "corrupt" assistants, better wages and security at hospitals.
Doctors said the strike aims to pressure Health Minister Amr Helmy to respond to their demands after two unsuccessful meetings.
"We hope that we won’t have to go through with the strike and that the issue will be resolved before then. We know that Helmy is a revolutionary but his assistants were appointed by the ousted regime and are highly corrupt," said Ramy Fouad, member of the coalition.
However Fouad said the strike — organized under the slogan “Stay at home” — is not as well prepared compared to the previous ones because the decision was not issued by a general assembly.
Doctors are demanding the dismissal of 10 of the minister’s assistants. They also said that they have not received incentives for August and were told that the decision to increase wages has not yet reached hospitals.
They also complained of deteriorating security at hospitals as more incidents of attacks on doctors have been reported.
"Helmy told us that he cannot dismiss anyone from their post unless there is empirical evidence of corruption and provoked doctors by appointing one of them — Abdel Hamid Abaza — as head of the committee that will examine the doctors’ problems," Fouad said.
They began calling for the strike in governorates but said that the absence of an official syndicate decision to strike will stop many from participating.
Doctors had organized two partial strikes on May 10 and 17, with more than 80 percent of doctors participating nationwide demanding the dismissal of former Minister of Health Ashraf Hatem, raising the health budget from 3.5 percent to 15 percent of the national budget, increasing wages, and providing adequate security at hospitals.