14 December 2012

Mozambique: Doctors Withdraw Strike Threat

Photo: The Star/ Monicah Mwangi
Medical workers (file photo).

Maputo — The Mozambique Medical Association (AMM), which claims to represent the country's doctors, has withdrawn its threat to take strike action as from next Monday.

The decision to call off the strike followed a meeting between AMM leaders and Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina on Monday, and a mass meeting of over 500 doctors from Maputo city and province on Wednesday.

According to AMM Deputy Chairperson, Casimiro Mapucha, cited in the latest edition of the weekly paper "Savana", the negotiations with the government solved the doctors' grievances over housing and over the "Doctor's Statute".

The AMM objected to a circular issued by the then Minster of Health, Ivo Garrido, in 2008, which limited the amount of time that doctors can live in state housing. As a result, several doctors have been evicted the AMM claims.

Mapucha said that the Health Ministry has now guaranteed "that the doctors can return to the houses as before".

The Doctor's Statute was approved by the government in November, but the AMM claims that doctors were not consulted. The Statute will now be rewritten and the new version should be ready by the end of March.

These government concessions were enough for the AMM to withdraw the strike threat. But a third issue, that of doctors' wages, remains unsolved and there is a huge gap between the two sides.

The AMM is demanding a basic wage of 90,000 meticais (about 3,030 US dollars) a month, while the government's proposal is for wages ranging between 20,000 and 38,000 meticais a month.

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