NewsNorth AfricaMali health workers strike over pay


Posted on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 17:45

Mali health workers strike over pay

By Reuters

A patient sits in her bed suffering from Malaria at Gao's hospital in Gao, northern Mali, Monday Feb. 11, 2013. Photo: Jerome Delay/AP/SIPAHealth services at public hospitals and health centers in Mali have been paralyzed by an ongoing health workers' strike, which has left millions of people stranded.


At the main public facility in Bamako, the Gabriel Touré University Hospital Centre, workers have not reported for duty for week now.

Doctors, nurses and other health workers abandoned their work stations on March 09, demanding bonuses and pending allowances among other grievances they say are yet to be implemented, following a November 2016 agreement with authorities.

Youssouf Maïga is the Deputy General Secretary of the national Union of Health, Social Action and Family Promotion.

"For us today it is not negotiation but it is a question of implementing the commitments that the government made in November 2016. For us there is no question of negotiations but rather the implementation of the existing memorandum of understanding," he said.

Emergency services are still available in hospitals although those affected are getting only basic care.

The strike follows others recently staged by teachers, magistrates, clerks and foreign affairs officials.

Mali, one of the world's poorest countries has suffered from endemic corruption and instability over the years and most recently from multiple insurrections by Islamist groups in the north, as well as infighting between armed factions.

Improved infrasctructure and better working conditions

While the landlocked desert nation is an important gold exporter, many citizens say they are yet to feel the impact of their country's wealth.

"We have been here for several days, we went for consultation but there are no doctors to administer treatment, the situation is very embarrassing. I do not know what to do," said Amidou Doumbia, who sought services at the hospital.

"Diseases that do not seem serious in the beginning become complicated after two or three days. Then the costs of care increase and hospitalization time as well. So there are many consequences in this kind of displacement at the hospital level," said Professor Kassoum Sanogo, the Director at CHU Gabriel Touré Hospital.

Union leaders say the government is yet to respond to their strike action.

"No one has approached us, neither the government, nor the civil society nor the politicians, so we continue our strike. However, we are open to dialogue because we know that this is how we will get what we want," said Maïga.

Health workers also want the government to improve infrastructure in hospitals and enable them operate in better working conditions.

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