Maputo, 5 Jun (AIM) – Mozambican health workers have suspended their strike for a period of 15 days, counted from Sunday, following two days of negotiations between the Health Ministry and the Association of United Health Professionals of Mozambique (APSUSM)
The strike began on 1 June, with APSUSM demanding increased wages and better working conditions. The Association had complained of shortages of medicines and of individual protective equipment in the health units.
But the Ministry said this was untrue and invited journalists to see the stocks of medicines and equipment in the Central Medical Stores. Officials at the stores said there is enough protective equipment for the entire country for the next eight months.
Abu Jone, the deputy national director of the Medical Stores, guaranteed that they contain at least 16 million pairs of gloves, 42 million surgical masks, and over a million disposable aprons, among other personal protectiopon equipment.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Sunday, after the end of the second day of negotiations, the president of APSUSM, Anselmo Muchave, said the strike had been interrupted “temporarily” to make room for a continued search for consensus between the parties.
Muchave claimed that consensus had already been reached on those points which are within the power of the Ministry of Health. “The points where there is no consensus are outside of the Ministry of Health”, he admitted.
The strike was to have lasted until 25 June, the anniversary of Mozambican independence. The 15 day suspension means that the strike might resume on 19 June.
APSUSM was unknown until last month. It claims more than 10,000 members, including doctors, nurses and other health professionals. It is not yet known how many of them heeded the call to go on strike last week. Some disruption was reported at health units, but neither APSUSM nor the Ministry have issued any figures on how many workers joined the strike.