Gambian doctors demand health minister resign

BANJUL, Gambia: More than 200 resident doctors began a strike Tuesday, crippling the country’s medical facilities.
Lamin Jammeh, a spokesperson for the country’s main referral hospital in Banjul, said although the facility employs just 14 of the 211 striking doctors, resident doctors make up more than half of all medical doctors in the country.
Tensions have mounted in recent weeks after Health Minister Saffie Lowe accused the doctors of corruption.
Lowe denied she made the accusation but later admitted she said doctors are pilfering the national drug store that has often led to insufficient drugs at clinics and hospitals.
One of the leaders of the striking doctors, Khalifa Gassama, told Anadolu Agency the group would not return to work until Lowe resigns.
Lowe as refused to step down and has the support of the government.
The Secretary General and head of civil service, Habib Drammeh, told national radio on Tuesday the government has rejected the demand for Lowe’s resignation.
“They [doctors] have several discussions with several other partners but they have not come to meet the minister,” Cherno Barry, permanent secretary at the health ministry told Anadolu Agency. “I sent them an official invitation and they also refused to come.”
Barry said the health ministry is holding an emergency meeting Tuesday to consider actions against the doctors.–AA

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