Morocco World News
Fez, June 19, 2012
Employees in Morocco’s health care sector will start a national strike on June 20-21. The National University of Health, the largest board to represent health care employees, invited all members to take part in a 48 hour national strike, except those working in emergency departments and intensive-care units, in an attempt to urge the Ministry of Health to speed up negotiations regarding employees’ demands.
Among these demands is the call for the prosecution of officials and employees directly responsible for the outbreak of corruption in the health care sector. Workers are also requesting an end to the manipulation of the administrative and professional status of employees, higher compensations, resolution of blocked and manipulated transitions and legal protection.
Morocco’s 60,000 health care workers falls short of the World Health Organization’s minimum of 5.2 doctors, one nurse and one assistant per 1,000 inhabitants. As such, Morocco will need at least 19,000 health care professionals to cover the urgent medical care needs of its citizens.
The Minister of Health, Mr. El-Houssein El-Ouardi, has announced earlier this month that Morocco suffers from a lack of doctors and nurses in the public health sector. There is a need for 7,000 doctors and 9,000 nurses to address an alarming scenario where there are only 6 doctors per 10,000 citizens.
It is also worth noting that access to proper health care for pregnant women is becoming a problem in Morocco. There have been alleged incidents of pregnant women finding it increasingly difficult to access adequate health care and proper medical facilities and eventually give birth in unusual places, like taxis, gardens and public bathrooms. In an intervention at the House of Representatives this week, Mr. El-Ouerdi also confirmed that there is a shortage of specialized doctors, especially OB/GYN doctors, with only 242 specialized doctors in public hospitals. He also promised to open an urgent investigation regarding rumors that pregnant women have to pay bribes before receiving any assistance from workers in public hospitals. If there is any merit to this rumor, the Minister promised that “injunctive legal actions” would be taken against these workers.
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