“Pregnant women lay down in the corridors of the hospital, and those lucky enough to find a bed share it with one or two more women.”
Rabat – The Syndicate of Public Sector Doctors in Morocco has warned of the “dangerous situation” in the maternity ward at Mohammed V Hospital in Tangier. The department suffers from overcrowding and has only four doctors on staff.
The human resources at the hospital face a lot of pressure, according to Choukri Mesrar, the syndicate’s regional secretary. The hospital receives patients from all of the surrounding cities and towns; Asilah, Larache, Ksr Kebir, Chefchaouen, and Ouezzane.
“Pregnant women lay down in the corridors of the hospital, and those lucky enough to find a bed share it with one or two more women,” Mesrar said in an official statement.
The situation is caused by a lack of strategy from the Ministry of Health to recruit new doctors and to provide good working conditions for them, added the secretary.
In the last year, eight doctors have resigned from working at the hospital, angry at the working conditions. There are only four doctors left in the department, and three of them are not even from Mohammed V Hospital. Two of the doctors are from Asilah, and one is from Tangier’s Mohammed VI Hospital.
The syndicate demanded that the Ministry of Health provides both human and material resources in order to improve the conditions of the hospital. According to the organization, the resignations will continue if the ministry takes no measures to improve work conditions at the hospital.
The maternity ward at Tangier’s Mohammed V Hospital receives more than 15,500 women every year. Around 13,000 patients give normal birth, while 2,500 receive Cesarean section operations.
The call for improvement of the maternity ward comes only a few days after a video of a woman giving birth in the streets of Fez shocked Moroccan social media users.
The video shows a woman giving birth in the street just outside of Fez University Hospital.
The woman and her husband are from Sefrou, a small town about 30 kilometers south of Fez. The couple first went to Sefrou’s maternity ward, where medical staff sent them to Fez.
The hospital in Fez then denied the woman entry, and she went into labor near the hospital’s main entrance.
On November 7, Morocco’s Minister of Health Khaled Ait Taleb sent a letter to the Regional Director of Health in Fez. The letter states that Abdeslam El Bekkali, a gynecologist-obstetrician practicing at Mohammed V hospital in Sefrou, will be temporarily suspended from his position while continuing to receive his salary.
The latest call from the syndicate is not alone: throughout 2019, doctors and hospital employees organized numerous protests to improve their work conditions and the quality of hospitals.
On October 23, doctors and employees at Rabat’s University Hospital went on a two-day strike.
Previously, on October 7, the syndicate organized a national strike covering all Moroccan public hospitals.