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Doctors to commence indefinite strike on May 15

Cameroon health workers under the medical doctor’s trade union, SYMEC, have maintained their stance to embark on a nationwide strike…

Cameroon health workers under the medical doctor’s trade union, SYMEC, have maintained their stance to embark on a nationwide strike from May 15.

Last month the health workers observed a three-day strike but was later rebuffed by public health minister, Andre Mama Fouda as he called the union an illegal group. Mama Fouda said the union had no legal backing to organise any strike action.

Last week’s call for another strike action proves the health workers union has received the backing of the legal body regulating the activity of doctors in Cameroon. The doctors are demanding among other things, an increase in salary and a review of the retirement age. They argue that “it is absolutely unacceptable that in a country with insufficient doctors, some medical practitioners should go on retirement at the age of 55.” SYMEC has urged all doctors to observe the strike action.

They state that Cameroon doctors are demanding a reform of the health system. “They require the introduction of universal basic health insurance within a short period of time in order to improve the supply of care and to allow equal access in order to end thousands of deaths every year in a country where only the leaders are entitled to medical flights”.

The trade unionists in the health sector have also denounced the intimidation to which they are subjected and are demanding a salary increment for medics and the payment of state subsidies to private doctors in the form of premiums. The Doctors are also asking the government to raise the retirement age of doctors from 55 to 65 years of age. “Doctors must not wait for emergence by 2035 to receive health insurance coverage, they say, adding that it is unbelievable that some doctors in the public service “are paid 110,000 F CFA.”

According to the strike timeline, the union plans to stage an unlimited strike action on July 17, in case the actions scheduled for May 15 to 17 and June 12 to 14, 2017, fails to achieve any positive result.

 

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