PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – A new work stoppage was declared by health care workers at the 19 public hospitals in Haiti on Monday. Hospitals returned to operations in August of this year at the end of a strike that took the better part of a year, beginning late 2015. During that strike many lives were lost at the footsteps of the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince.
The strike was called into effect by the National Federation of Health Workers (FENATRAS) and concerned all support and administrative hospital workers but it was only observed in several health facilities, including the State University of Haiti (HUEH) General Hospital in Port-au-Prince. At this high-traffic institution of health, physicians, resident nurses and other medical personnel have observed the work stoppage, according to Haiti Libre.
The federation is demanding that the Minister of Health Daphne Benoit Delsoin honor her pledge to increase the salaries of the workers. The pledge and the inclusion of the measures in the 2016 Budget Bill were taken in good faith by health care workers to return to operations in late August.
But Dr. Gabriel Timothée, Director General of the Ministry of Health, said that the sector has come upon budget constraints. “The ministry is not able, at the moment, to fulfill its promises,” he said, but reminded strikers that they were in the midst of the holiday season, “the time is not right for a strike, a period where health services are usually very busy.”
The doctors and residents have continued to manage those already hospitalized but are no longer taking in patients. The doors of the emergency room have been closed and they are threatening to formally join the strike, which will affect current patients, on December 19 if no satisfactory arrangements are made.