Casablanca – Raja Battaoui
The National Committee of Medical Students in Morocco is preparing for protests across medical schools and warning sit-ins at university hospitals to draw the attention of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Higher Education
and Scientific Research to the dire conditions of medical students.
All committee members expanded on the scant funds given to medical students starting from their third year, which stopped at a 110 Dirham a month and hasn’t increased since the 1970s. Private medical schools have also been refused licences.
Alaa Al-Issawi, the official for the National Committee of Medical Students in Morocco said that the meeting of the coordinating committee discussed the national medical profile and set practical steps which were adopted by its members to defend their demands and see them on the ground.
"The actions must end the lack of professionalism which training students find inside hospitals while serving there, and the complete absence of adequate facilities like places for rest, bathrooms, meals, and what compels the student to work hard on their own to meet their basic demands," he said.
A statement by the committee said that its members will start their protests on Tuesday September 18 to be followed by a "warning" sit-in at all university hospitals on Wednesday September 26.
In case the Ministry of Health continued to disregard the possible dialogue concerning financial reward, the statement said, more escalated steps will be taken such as a sit-in in all university hospitals during the first week of October, and a protest outside the Ministry of Health headquarters on October 10.
Jawad Faraj, a media officer in the committee, said that Minister of Health Al-Hussein Al-Wardi had promised students to see to their issue while he was dean of the Faculty of Medicine in Casablanca.
"He then surprised them with no response to their demands after more than six months for the Abdelilah Benkirane government. The escalations would be in reaction to the neglect of the minister of health and the Minister of Higher Education Al-Dawudi," he said.
Protests are calling for rasing wages currently at 110 Dirhams for third and fourth year students and 165 Dirhams for fifth and sixth year students whose work hours are four hours a day in addition to night shifts. Jawad threatened more protests condemning Dawudi’s project for banning private medical school licences "as a decision that reflects on the rights of Moroccan people and dismisses the interests of student doctors".