Burk­ina Faso hos­pi­tals crip­pled by strike

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE - OUAGADOUGOU, Burk­ina Faso:

Hos­pi­tals were par­a­lyzed Tues­day in the poor west African coun­try of Burk­ina Faso as doc­tors and health work­ers launched a three-day strike for salary hikes and in­creased al­lowances, of­fi­cials said.

The pow­er­ful Syntsha union of med­i­cal work­ers which called the protest said hos­pi­tals had ground to a halt. Syntsha sec­re­tary gen­eral Pis­syamba Oue­draogo told AFP that the protest was aimed at “mak­ing the gov­ern­ment see rea­son.”“There is no doubt that health ser­vices through­out the coun­try are blocked as the per­son­nel have not showed up,” Oue­draogo said.

Health Min­is­ter Smaila Oue­draogo claimed that there were just four stick­ing points out of the orig­i­nal 63 de­mands made by the unions and added he was hope­ful they would be re­solved soon. “We have vis­ited some hos­pi­tals in the cap­i­tal and have no­ticed a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in their func­tion­ing,” he said.

Pa­tients were left to fend for them­selves at the Yal­gado Oue­draogo univer­sity hos­pi­tal, the largest in the coun­try, an AFP correspondent said.

There was only one doc­tor in the emer­gency ward. A doc­tor at an­other med­i­cal fa­cil­ity in the cap­i­tal Ouagadougou said he had turned up as it was “a mat­ter of con­science.”

“This strike is not nor­mal and it is not fair,” he said. “When the sick are strug­gling to buy medicines be­cause they have no money, they are de­mand­ing higher salaries,” said Bernard Ka­bore, whose brother needs a se­cond oper­a­tion af­ter an ac­ci­dent.

Burk­ina Faso has some 28,000 work­ers, of whom less than 1,000 are doc­tors. They are largely based in and around the cap­i­tal of the coun­try of some 18 mil­lion peo­ple. — AFP

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