Development News from Afghanistan

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Afghan doctors’ strike called off

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BBC News / Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Doctors in the Afghan province of Herat have called off a strike in which they were demanding better security.

They made their decision after negotiations with a team sent by President Karzai to Herat to resolve the dispute.

The strike was started by medical staff in protest against a recent rise in attacks on staff and their families.

The central hospital in Herat came to a standstill and pharmacies and private clinics were also closed.

On Tuesday, shops and factories in Herat joined the protest.

Inconvenience

Correspondents say that public pressure was mounting on the doctors because many patients were not being treated at hospitals or clinics.

Community and tribal elders, parliamentarians and clerics urged them to call it off because of the inconvenience caused.

On Monday, the government threatened the striking doctors with legal action if they did not return to work.

Several hundred doctors and medical workers went on strike on Saturday in protest at a recent rise in the number of attacks on medical staff and their families. They were also demanding improvements in the overall security situation.

Last week the son of a local doctor in Herat was kidnapped.

He was the latest in a number of doctors or doctors’ relatives to have been abducted over the past year.

Kidnappers are reported to have demanded $300,000 (£149,000) for his release.

The strike hit medical services in the area hard, paralysing Herat’s main hospital and leading to the closure of local pharmacies and private clinics.

Herat city is an important regional centre and people travel there from surrounding districts and neighbouring provinces.

It is not clear who is behind the wave of kidnappings aimed at doctors and their families.

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Written by afghandevnews

March 16, 2008 at 5:17 am

Posted in Health, Security

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