Peru’s doctors strike in demand for higher pay

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LIMA – About 15,000 Peruvian doctors employed by the health ministry went on strike Friday, demanding salary increases and secure government funding, the Medical Federation announced.

The health ministry downplayed the risk to patients from the 24-hour strike.

But Medical Federation president Cesar Palomino hailed the “overwhelming” action.

A march by the protesting doctors ended at Peru’s Congress, where they presented a document to government officials with their demands.

Palomino said Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has not fulfilled his election campaign promise to raise salaries for doctors who work for the Health Ministry.

“In Peru, there still are doctors employed by the ministry who earn just 530 soles a month [about $200], while a secretary employed by the ministry after only three years of study receives a salary between 4,000 and 8,000 soles [$1,500-3,000] a month,” he said.
The government has increased the pay for the military, judges and teachers, “but for doctors there is no money for salaries,” Palomino said.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry spokesman Manuel Larrea said 95 percent of doctors nationwide continued working, indicating the strike caused minimal disruption.

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