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Government silence frustrates striking doctors as health professionals consider ‘plan B’

Juba, South Sudan,

June 11, 2021 – Frontline health workers have voiced their frustration over the government’s silence to address their concerns after a decision to go on strike failed to compel the government to act.

Government silence frustrates striking doctors as health professionals consider ‘plan B’
A woman walks past the Juba Teaching Hospital’s Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics (photo credit: SSFP)

The medical professionals went on strike earlier this month demanding that the government pays their salaries, which have stalled for nine months.

Motivated by the death of their colleague and the gruesome killing of Dr. Louis Edward Saleh, the doctors went on strike saying they were undervalued and vowed not to return to duties until their demands are met.

However, the strike seems to have made little impact on the government as evidenced by a muted response to the concerns raised by workers.

Dr. Anthony Garang, the Chairperson of the South Sudan Doctors’ Union said the silence by the government makes a nationwide strike inevitable.

“We asked the government to arrest the suspects to face justices in a competent court of law and we have also asked the authorities to provide more protection to health workers across the country, especially those in the rural areas,” Garang said.

According to Garang, their concerns have been ignored by the government, which they say, should be the one protecting them.

Last month, the union urged state authorities to investigate and charge criminals involved in killing health workers saying failure to act would result in the withdrawal of staff.

Concerns for payment among civil servants have been widespread. Teachers have equally voiced their concerns when schools reopened. The response from the government remained consistent; no money.

But as a new variant of COVID-19 looms in South Sudan, there is hardly anything the government can prioritize more than doctors and their wellbeing.

On Thursday, Nyamilepedia reported the catastrophic scenario at the Nimule border where travelers are crossing into the country without getting tested because health workers are on strike.

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