By Libya Herald reporters.
Misrata/Tripoli, 29 December 2016:
Staff at Misrata Central Hospital’s cancer unit have begun industrial action following the seizure of one of their colleagues. They say they will continue their action until Dr Moncef Al-Houti, a surgeon with the unit, is released.
He was taken two days ago from the hospital, allegedly by a local security militia. The reason is unknown. Staff, who started their strike yesterday, say it was a wholly illegal and an attack on the hospital itself.
The actions includes not accepting any new patients, although existing in-patients will continue to be treated.
“It’s the only way that will get results,” one official told the Libya Herald.
Meanwhile in a similar move in Sebha, staff at the town’s medical centre held protests today over abuse and attacks against them by members of the public.
They have again threatened to stop work, demanding that the authorities improve security at the hospital.
This is far from the first such protest by staff at Sebha Medical Centre. A year and a half ago, following the kidnapping of the finance department head, there were similar protests and warnings of a strike, although in the end it never happened.
Attacks on hospital staff by members of the public demanding priority treatment for family or friends or angry at treatment received have been commonplace in Libya since the revolution, especially in Tripoli. Numerous protests by staff have done little to change the situation.
For their part the local authorities have been powerless to protect hospital workers.