The Association of United Health Professionals of Mozambique  (APSUSM) – which represents nurses, laboratory technicians, drivers and other professionals in the health sector – said on Monday that its members would not resume their strike for the next 15 days, as a way of continuing to prioritize dialogue with the government in order to resolve the problems of the class. 

The health workers’ strike suspension period ended on Sunday (November 5th). On the other hand, two weeks ago, resident doctors at Maputo Central Hospital (HCM), Mozambique’s largest health unit, threatened to stop working overtime due to lack of payment.

APSUSM said at the time that the decision to suspend the strike, which had been going on for over a month, was the result of an appeal made by the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, for talks to be prioritized.

According to the president of APSUSM, Anselmo Muchave, since negotiations are still underway with the government, through the Ministry of Health (MISAU), there is no room to resume the strike, given the demonstrations taking place almost all over the country in protest at the election results that gave victory to the ruling Frelimo party in 64 municipalities. The demonstrations are being held by Renamo, the largest opposition party in Mozambique, its members and sympathizers.

For the time being, according to the president, APSUSM has decided not to resume the strike so as not to be confused with the partisan groups that have been marching to contest the results of the October 11 elections, announced by the National Electoral Commission (CNE).

“In order not to mix up our concerns with the demands raised in the context of the elections, we will wait peacefully in our health posts until the situation normalizes. After the break, we will be able to address the demands”, he said.

In this context, Muchave urged all health professionals, especially drivers, administrative technicians, service assistants and health specialists, to be serene, vigilant, humble and united.

“We urge professionals to remain in their workplaces, awaiting new information that may be born on the basis of the results to be achieved through dialogue”, Muchave said.

The president of APSUSM also encouraged health professionals to continue working hard, despite facing various problems associated with the cost of living that is plaguing the country. 

Despite the difficulties, according to Muchave, the mission of health professionals is to save lives, so “as we approach the festive season, professionals are called upon to be ready to live up to the oath of their professionalism.”

The president of APSUSM also revealed that the consensus reached so far is 45 percent, since medical and surgical equipment and other relevant equipment have been made available for the treatment of patients in reference hospitals.

Muchave highlighted the recent delivery of an MRI machine to the Central Hospital of Beira as the main advance, which is expected to put an end to patient transfers to other points with the same services “thus eliminating the high costs resulting from these movements.”

With regard to career changes and the inclusion of health professionals in the context of the Single Salary Table (TSU) in the public administration, according to Muchave, “progress has been made as a result of the ongoing dialog with the Executive to improve working conditions.”

However, Muchave stressed, there are still problems associated with the lack of hospitalization conditions throughout the country.

“The lack of food for hospitalized patients and the shortage of medicines for patients are also other concerns that have not yet been answered by the government, which is why the association is not suspending the strike definitively because it wants to see these issues resolved”, he said. 

In this context, the source argued, APSUSM will start inspecting health units this Tuesday to assess working conditions. Depending on the results obtained, APSUSM will meet in a general assembly to decide on the next steps.

APSUSM’s demands, like those of the Mozambican Medical Association (AMM), include better working conditions, improved salaries, as well as better hospital conditions for patients in the National Health Service (SNS).

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