With a total population of over 40 million, Sudan has been in the fore front of violence since 2003, with 2.5 million displaced in Darfur and 300,000 lost lives since the beginning of the violence there. The people of Sudan have been suffering for years from lack of basic human rights, from deteriorating medical infrastructure, facilities and health care. Many areas lack in medical care, hospitals lack equipment to treat patients and both patients and doctors are struggling to keep up with the failure of the health system in the country.
The failure of Sudan’s public health system has boosted the private sector, with now more than 1,400 private hospitals nationwide as compared to 366 public hospitals . Doctors are miraculously working in very poor conditions in hospitals across Khartoum and other states to save millions of lives everyday, but for how long shall the struggle remain? for how long shall doctors be blamed for deaths encountered in which they, due to the absence of basic equipment could not control.
On Thursday, October 6th, Sudanese doctors nationwide started a three day protest to demand better medical services and facilities, availability of equipment, protection from security forces and training at government hospitals. Here’s what you need to know about the strike:
1- It is a civil strike with no political inclinations.
2- The doctors WILL attend emergency cases, and only emergency cases.
3- This strike is for the people of Sudan, for the poor citizen who comes to the hospital to find no syringes, no oxygen cylinders, no ventilator, and is forced to go and buy these basic items from outside.
4- The first day of the strike has seen more than 70 hospitals striking in different states of Sudan.
5- Sudanese Doctors Committee has been getting huge support from civil groups, The Sudanese Surgeons Association issued an official statement of solidarity with the strike so as a large number of specialists from various hospitals in Sudan.
6- The strike is already getting media attention from BBC, Al Jazeera, Dailymail, PressTV and other media outlets. and a striking social media attention
7- Some doctors have been expelled from some Hospitals for refusing to break the strike, doctors have vowed to continue the strike until the objectives are met.
8- From its first day the strike has already seen tremendous success in pressuring the authorities into meeting its demands, including the provision of a large amount of devices loaded on seven vehicles to Ibrahim Malik Hospital and the amount of one billion Sudanese pounds in support by the Ministry of Finance. But the doctors will not stop until all demands are met for the sake of the citizen of Sudan whom had been suffering for years.
9- Perhaps the biggest breakthrough so far is the circular issued by the Sudanese Minister of Justice calling for the Criminal police Form No. 8 to be non-binding to doctors anymore, and doctors to be exempt from any immediate legal action when faced with accidents and injuries. This form which used to be an obligation for patients to secure from police station before they receive medical attention in hospital emergency units, has caused many troubles to doctors over the years and this new amendment is considered as a big success for doctors.
10- The strike is not over until all demands are met! You can follow updates of the strike through the the hashtags #Sudanese_Doctors_Strike and #إضراب_أطباء_السودان on Twitter and Facebook. More updates can be followed from the Sudanese Doctors Committee page here.