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Cameroon doctors defy government caution, strike again


Cameroonian medical doctors have staged another strike on Monday demanding better working conditions and improved wages.

Doctors union SYMEC called on doctors nationwide to observe the two-day strike action which is the second since April that left patients without critical care in hospitals.

A communique issued by leader Pierre Yves Bassong on May 12, 2017 says the May 15 to 17 strike will be followed by another action on June 12 to 14 if their demands are not met.

They are demanding for a review of their salaries and bonuses, insurance allowance, speedy integration into the public service and increase in retirement age from 55 to 65 years.

These were not met after a meeting with the health minister Andre mama Fouda in January.

The Cameroonian government has cautioned the doctors against striking which they described as illegal.

Andre mama Fouda said ahead of the first strike that the doctors union was not registered and their strike was not authorized.

Immediately after the earlier strike action, the leaders of the union were reportedly transferred by the government to rural areas.

The leader of the doctors union Pierre Yves Bassong was also banned from appearing on public television by the government, local media report.

The doctors have received some support from politicians and the general public as they embark on their action.

“Doctors standing up for Cameroon, we must stand with them! … It’s essential for us citizens to support doctors in this initiative for a better health system in Cameroon,” political activist Kah Walla tweeted on Sunday.

SYMEC said all appointments and consultations should be cancelled; and laboratory tests and medical examinations should be suspended during the sit-in strike.

Cameroon has faced a series of protests since last year especially in the northwest against the government.

Over 100 people were arrested and one person killed in November last year in Bamenda following days of violent protests over the alleged discrimination against minority English-speaking people.

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