English

Egyptian Human Rights Organizations Announce Its First Report on Nurse Problems In Egypt … And Demand Lowering The Retirement Age To 55 Years And Increase The Infection Allowance.

The Egyptian Center for Human for Economic and Social Rights , Awladelard  Foundation ( Children of Earth for Human Rights),  Association for  health and environmental development,   New Woman Foundation in cooperation with the Freedoms Committee at the Press Syndicate held  yesterday 19/7/2010 a press conference to announce a report on the problems of nurses in Egypt.
Amal Meselhy, nurse at Tanta public hospital , confirmed that nurses of  Tanta hospital have sought their lost rights in every way possible. They tried protest stands and sit ins, but there was no response. Lack of nurses’ awareness of their rights weakens the ability to obtain these rights once they are threatened of expulsion or interrogation. Amal called on her colleagues to unite for their rights and not to give in for threats and terrorizing policies . She demanded the ministry of health  to hold training sessions for nurses , to provide special hospitals  for sick nurses  and to increase infection allowance.
Om ElRizq Mohammed , nurse at Shebeen’s educational hospital ,Menoufia  said that nurses suffer from many problems at  the hospital and in spite of having organized a sit-in inside the hospital for 26 days, most of their demands were not fulfilled . She  said that nurses tried to contact the Nursing Union Leader, but he did not respond. Om Elrizq demanded  a satisfactory pension for nurses in proportion to the effort they exert ,working round the clock . She also called for lowering the retirement age for nurses to 55 years.

Om ElRizq declared that nurses were beaten up, ill treated  and even sexually harassed by doctors. All this violation are a result of the absence of the system  governing the management of hospitals. She asked for improving social, health  care and status of nurses . She mentioned that health care fund ignores the sick nurse.

Samia Gad, Nursing Union Leader in Alexandria, asked for an increase in infection allowance,  to  disburse incentives with salaries  by law ,salary increases in general because the salaries of nurses are very low. She called for increase of allowance of nature of work, the nurses’ right  in  treatment in case of illness, the establishment of nurseries in hospitals to care for nurses’ children during their long working hours.
She criticized not implementing resolutions of the minister of health in all departments , especially those resolutions regarding health insurance and nurses’ right to full care. She also stressed on the need to better the  image of nurses in the Egyptian mentality and in the media.

Samia Ahmed, a rural leader from Assiout, said, “We have been working for 11 years ,we are affiliates to the National Council for Population and despite the hardships we encounter because  of our work that requires  grassroots contact  like when we launch campaigns for family planning , abolishing female genital mutilation and bird and wine flu and so on. On  July 1st,  we were surprised that we were not allowed to  sign in at work  and we were told to  go to the Directorate of Health Affairs in the city of  Assiout. There we were forced to sign contracts of the fourth category  , “subsidies”, which if were not  available meant we are spared . Some rural leaders have contracts of first category , “potential permanent hire and raise” . We staged several sit-ins to claim our rights.Yesterday, we received expulsion letters and do not know what to do now.

Elhami Mirghani said that nurses in Egypt suffer from many problems, including the problems of temporary contracts, thus depriving them of all their rights, whether in recruitment, remuneration or permanent hiring. This drove  nurses to resort to sit-ins and strikes. During 2008, nurses staged  13  protest : 8 strikes , sit-ins 3 and 2 protest stands. Low pay and  incentive claims  was the sole reason for 7 protests and was also one of the reasons for the outbreak of  3 protests .Penalties  and arbitrary decisions were the only reason for a protest, one of two reasons in another protest. Assignment to tasks contrary to the job description of  the nurse was the only reason for one  protest, one of the reasons in another protest. Working hours  were the only reason for one protest, one of the reasons in another protest.
During 2009, protests also continued in the nursing sector, where the nurses staged  12 protest : 6 strikes ,3 sit –ins. and 2 protest stands.
Reasons for the protests were : Low pay was the reason for 2 protests  and one of the reasons in 2 others. Working hours were the sole reason  of two protests. Arbitrary transfer was the only reason for 4 protests. Penalties and arbitrary decisions were the sole cause of one protest, and one of the reasons in the two protests. In addition ,  workers at Matrouh hospital protested because of a being assaulted by a  patient family.
In the current year , nurses movement nurses increased to an unprecedented level. In the first six months of this year, strikes and  protests occurred in several provinces, including Qaliubiya, Ismailia, Menoufia , Gharbia, Cairo, Giza. The scene of angels of mercy in protest stands became rather familiar. Unfortunately the gap is still wide between what  nurses claim and the response . The ministry of health in the era of  Hatem  Gabali holds  high the slogan “No hear .. No see..  No speak” and adopts the policy of denying the human element in the process of health care :doctors , nurses ,technicians, workers and others, their  financial rights to be able to provide quality service to millions of patients.
Organizations participating in this conference stressed on the necessity of paying an allowance for nurse students at nursing schools  commensurate with market prices and in proportion to the tasks they carry out in hospitals. As well, nurse salary should be redefined in the service year and afterwards so that the minimum pay complies with the consumed basket, which had been estimated by economic experts to be EGP 1200 . Organizations also  stressed in this context on the importance of the government’s respect for judicial ruling for the National Council for wages to convene.
As for the variable wages (incentives and allowances) human rights institutions recommend the consolidation of allowances and incentives between the public sector hospitals, government hospitals and  private sector. A fair amount  commensurate with the efforts of nurses must be proposed and the  differences between sectors of nursing must be reduced.
The institutions demanded  to provide rooms and special facilities for nurses in hospitals and to improve the quality of health services for nurses.  They affirmed the nurse right to visit clinics without being restricted by the number of times, but by the health condition of each nurse and also called for the provision of adequate medicine for nurses.

They  stressed on the need to raise the amount of social aid paid by  union of nursing so that it is proportionate with the costs of medical treatment .As well as raise the  pension  amount to  match high prices, by  seeking to increase the financial resources of the Union Pension Fund . Organizations refused to  raise the retirement age to 65 years as stipulated in the new insurance law.

As for the policies of penalties , reductions  and administrative  arbitrariness , institutions recommend re-evaluation of mechanisms of penalties and reductions  .
Institutes demanded the Egyptian Ministry of Health as well as the Ministries of Education to develop the educational system of nursing colleges and schools  and to invest in training  nurses.
They also stressed on the importance of strengthening the role of the union to be able to develop the nursing profession ,to defend interests and rights of the workers in the nursing profession and provide support and social services to union members.
Organizations pointed out the importance of changing the stereotypes rooted in the  Egyptian mentality about nurses through joint campaigns between nurses and civil society organizations.