Doctors’ strike across Mauritania brings hospitals to near standstill

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Doctors across Mauritania on Monday launched a two-day nationwide strike with several demands including the improvement of hospital services and salary increase. So far, concerned authorities have made no comment.

The strike comes amid doctors’ failure to make their demands heard despite promises they have received from Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who pledged a month and a half ago to put in place a committee made up of his adviser and the health minister to study all of their requests and asses them.

Dr. Mohamed Salem Ould Deweib asserted that the promises made by the president during his meeting with the doctors 45 days ago have not been executed to this day, which might lead them to extend their initial two-day strike to an open one if the current health situation in the country does not take a turn for the best.

The doctors are calling for free admission for emergency treatments, increase in the salaries of medical and paramedical personnel and improved working conditions by supplying equipment for hospitals and medicines needed by patients.

On Facebook, Ould Deweib talked about the working conditions in his country saying: “Most doctors across the country, including doctors in Nouakchott, are exposed daily to difficult situations. For example, the doctor finds himself in front of a patient who is fighting with death but who does not have the means for the expenses of medication.”

“As such, he is forced to intervene, sometimes by paying himself for the expenses. Others are forced into taking out a loan from the pharmacy and others by collecting money among their colleagues until the patient is out of danger. Sometimes the doctor has to donate his own blood for a bleeding patient,” the doctor added.

The strike, which began on Monday in Mauritania, has put hospitals on a standstill. Most medical services were completely suspended in health facilities with the exception of emergency rooms.

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