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Doctors’ Union threatens staff withdrawal from hostile regions

Juba, South Sudan, 24 May 2021 – The South Sudan Doctors’ Union has threatened to withdraw health workers under its membership deployed in States and Administrative Areas which are becoming ceaselessly hostile.

This comes after the killing of Dr. Louis Edward Saleh in Ganyiel Village in Unity State on 21st May 2021. The Union says Dr. Louis, who was working at Ganyiel Primary Healthcare Centre died in a suspected murder incident.

This follows a similar incident in April in which Ms. Amono Anna Clara, a nurse working in Torit Hospital was shot and killed along Torit road.

In a statement extended to Nymilepedia, the Doctors’ Union says it could withdraw medical personnel working in areas engulfed by violence and hostilities.

The group of medical professionals raised a specific concern on the silence of regional authorities amid rising cases of health workers getting killed.

“In the recent months, several humanitarian and health workers have been threatened, beaten, arrested, detained, tortured or killed in Lakes State, Ruweng Administrative Area, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal and Western Bahr el-Ghazal States.

“The entire medical fraternity is disappointed in State authorities for their silence and ignoring repeated calls for protection of health workers. The SSDU and allied professionals will not tolerate violence against health workers at your watch,” the statement reads in part.

State authorities have been given a 72-hour ultimatum to investigate the murder incidents and bring perpetrators to justice.

“The SSDU and its entire membership are giving a 72-hour ultimatum to State authorities to investigate the killings and bring culprits before a competent court of law. If nothing happens within this period, all doctors and allied professionals are prepared to lay down their tools and go on strike to demand justice and protection of health workers,” warned the union.

The doctors also roped in the executive arm of the government urging that a law that protects health workers should be enacted.

“The SSDU further calls on the Presidency to intervene by holding accountable any State authorities who violate the rights of health workers, and urge the government (RTGoNU) to enact laws that protect the rights of health care workers in the country,” the statement says.

“Finally, the SSDU will consult with all doctors, NGOs, and authorities on options to boycott/ withdraw from any State or community that shows hostility towards medical professionals and to agree on new Terms and Conditions for the deployment of health personnel to provide services at community levels. To the communities that we serve, health professionals are not your enemies but lifesavers. Protect us as we discharge our duty of care to every man, woman, and child,” the union charged.

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