Algeria: doctors in specialty continue their indefinite strike

ALGIERS – The physicians specializing in hospitals have decided on Sunday to continue their indefinite strike started on March 7 till the satisfaction of their claims, told AFP a spokesman for the strikers.

“We decided to maintain the strike until the announcement of practical solutions (by the Ministry of Health),” said Dr. Merouane Sid Ali

8,000 doctors specializing are demanding a salary increase and the cancellation of civil service, which requires them at graduation to serve two to four years in remote areas of the country.

Mr. Sid Ali said that representatives of these young physicians, however, continue negotiations with the Ministry of Health.

Health Minister, Djamel Ould Abbes announced in early May that general practitioners, dentists and pharmacists would benefit from a salary increase, up to 70% as for all staff, retroactive from January 2008.

“This proposal is unclear because doctors are not considered civil servants,” said Mr. Sid Ali.

The police have also blocked earlier this afternoon in central Algiers a protest a march of several hundred students in pharmacy and dentistry, on strike for nearly three months.

The protesters, dressed in their white coats gathered in the grounds of the University of Algiers, which houses the faculties of medicine and pharmacy before attempting to march through the streets of the capital

But they encountered a large cordon of policemen, hastily dispatched to the scene.

Pharmacy students and dentists claim a revaluation of their diploma. Under new government measures, they are no longer called “doctors” at the end of studies but “graduated” from pharmacy or dental surgery. According to them it is a degradation of their capacity which reduces them to mere paramedic and lowering their pay scale.
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