The minister’s visit came after medical staff in Marrakech denounced their working conditions.
Ait Taleb made the announcement on Wednesday evening during a visit to inspect the situation of hospitals in Marrakech.
The August 19 visit came after the city recorded a surge in COVID-19 cases and medical staff denounced their working conditions, threatening a strike.
During his visit, Ait Taleb met with the Wali (governor) of the Marrakech-Safi region, Karim Kassi-Lahlou, as well as regional representatives from the Ministry of Health.
In addition to the field hospital, the minister announced a series of measures aiming to decongest local hospitals and relieve some pressure from medical staff.
To improve the situation of hospitals in Marrakech, Ait Taleb announced a division of tasks between medical infrastructures. According to the minister’s plan, the Ibn Zohr hospital will exclusively focus on screening and laboratory tests for COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Ibn Tofail hospital will treat COVID-19 patients and the Ibn Rochd hospital will provide medical services for patients suffering from other diseases.
Ait Taleb also announced that eight private clinics, as well as the local National Social Security Fund (CNSS) clinic, will provide support to public hospitals in Marrakech through hosting COVID-19 patients in critical condition.
Moreover, the nearby military field hospital of Benguerir will undergo an expansion and further military medical staff will assist civilian doctors and nurses in Marrakech.
COVID-19 situation in Marrakech
With a surge in COVID-19 cases in Marrakech, the Ibn Zohr hospital suffered limited resources, leading the exhausted health professionals to prepare for a strike.
A statement from health professionals at the hospital informed the head of the medical infrastructure that they will end the provision of COVID-19 services due to “lack of safety conditions.”
“This voluntary work for the internal doctors in the regional hospital since March was dependent on ensuring safety conditions … to avoid the possibility of having health professionals become virus carriers or turning the health facility into a [COVID-19] hotspot,” the statement said.
The doctors reported a “scary pressure” at the hospital’s hosting services and emergency room due to the emergence of COVID-19 cases among doctors and nurses.
“With lack of a clear vision on what will come next … we would like to inform the director of our decision to end work at the COVID-19 services starting August 17,” the document concluded.
In addition to the letter, several photos and videos documented the conditions in the Ibn Zohr hospital, showing patients lying on the floor due to overcrowding.
The Marrakech-Safi region has reported 7,438 COVID-19 cases as of August 19, with the majority of cases focused in Marrakech. The number includes at least 50 health care providers.