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Algeria doctors’ union extends strikes

Algerian police in riot gear dispersed resident doctors protesting in Algiers on January 3, 2018
Algerian police disperse resident doctors protesting in Algiers, Algeria on 3 January 2018

Algeria’s doctors have continued their strike until further notice following a week of protests in the country after a sit-in calling for better working conditions in the capital Algiers was dispersed violently by authorities.

The national office of the Autonomous Collective of Algerian Resident Doctors (CAMRA) said in a statement that its demands were discussed with the Minister of Health, Mokhtar Hasbellaoui.

The national CAMRA office said on Saturday that the national representatives of the group held its third meeting with Hasbellaoui in which the compulsory civil and military services were discussed.

A number of terms were agreed to by the Ministry of Health “verbally”, according to CAMRA which include more flexibility during civil service, the right to housing and transportation access and better training.

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The Ministry of Health has reportedly not taken any decision yet on the lifting of compulsory civil service which doctors are expected to work following their graduation, for 4-5 years, and sent to remote places in the country with poor facilities and living conditions.

Hasbellaoui informed strikers that he had met with Deputy Defence Minister Gaid Salah to discuss the compulsory military service for men, promising a report as soon as possible.

He blamed hospital and health directors for the deterioration of the medical residents’ situation and deferred any responsibility for the recent demonstrations in the country’s main cities.

The Minister of Health also called on the Directors of Public Health to do all they can to benefit resident doctors so that they perform their civil service in the best conditions.

Last week, protest marches and solidarity sit-ins were organised by resident doctors in several regions in Algeria to make their voices heard and bring their demands to the country’s highest authorities.

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