Postgraduate, intern doctors continue strike for third straight day

Several hospitals across Bangladesh are struggling to provide care due to the strike

Published : 26 March 2024, 12:35 PM
Updated : 26 March 2024, 12:35 PM

Several hospitals across Bangladesh are struggling to provide care as the strike launched by postgraduate trainees and intern doctors of the country’s public and autonomous hospitals continues into a third consecutive day.

The striking doctors said they are not able to confirm how long the protest will continue as they have yet to receive any assurance from the government regarding the fulfilment of their demands.

“Nobody has contacted us and given us any update about the fulfilment of our demands till now. That’s why the protest is still underway. Intern doctors are also on strike with us,” said Jabir Hossain, president of the Postgraduate Private Trainee Doctors Association.

Authorities at several hospitals in Dhaka and outside the capital are struggling to perform day-to-day activities as the Postgraduate Private Trainee Doctors Association and Intern Doctors Council have been on a strike to press home their four-point list of demands, which include back pay and an increase in allowance, since Sunday.

The physicians said the strike did not have too significant an impact on Tuesday as the hospitals’ outdoor and all types of surgeries other than emergency ones were closed due to the public holiday.

Dr Md Niatuzzaman, director of Dhaka’s Mugda General Hospital, said as many as 50 interns and postgraduate trainees work at the hospital but their strike has not had much effect.

“The posted doctors working in the hospital are doing rotation duties. The number of patients is also less now due to Ramadan.”

The postgraduate trainees and intern doctors launched the strike at different hospitals across the country on Sunday demanding that the authorities raise their salaries and clear back pay.

After their demonstration in Dhaka on Saturday, Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen said the government would look into their demands in a meeting on Sunday.

However, the health minister failed to specify a date for the settlement of the issues they raised following Sunday's meeting, forcing the striking doctors to call for action.

On Sunday, the health minister told "I have been a minister for only two months. I don't know what happened a year ago. I have asked them to give me some time to investigate the matter. I am currently busy due to the arrival of the king of Bhutan. I will work on the matter soon and also speak to the prime minister about it.”