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Khartoum state health minister assaulted by medical doctor

July 9, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The minister of health in Khartoum state Mamoun Humeida was assaulted by a doctor in his office for declining to pay the monthly allowances and tuition fees of doctors who were dispatched by the state for medical training in Egypt.

Minister of health in Khartoum state Mamoun Humeida (Ashorooq TV)

An eyewitness said that Humeida suffered a surprise attack by a doctor complaining about not receiving his stipend or tuition fees.

A source close to the minister said that the doctor has contacted the minister for over a year asking for his money but to no avail.

The minister refused to address the doctor’s persistent complaints and challenged him saying “Ride the tallest of your horses”, which is a Sudanese phrase meaning “do whatever you want to do”.

An eyewitness said that the doctor punched the minister using a car key. Humeida suffered minor injuries near his kidney and the doctor was referred to the north police station in central Khartoum.

Humeida’s appointment as health minister drew wide range of opposition among specialist doctors fearing his approach which is focused on privatizing health services.

The minister, who owns several private hospitals in Khartoum, made the controversial decision of dismantling the largest government hospital which was located in central Khartoum and distributed its various sections to the outskirts of the capital.

Doctors and activists fear that the move was intended to privatize the hospital and discontinue the free medical services.

The minister ordered transferring the Brain and Neurology department from Khartoum hospital to Ibrahim Malik and the Academic hospitals as part of the dismantling process.

A physician, who preferred to stay anonymous, said that the two hospitals lack the basic infrastructure.

Press reports have mentioned that Brain and Neurology emergency room at Khartoum hospital which used to admit large numbers of patients, who were referred form other states, have stopped and doctors are telling patients in critical conditions that they have to go to Ibrahim Malik or the Academic hospitals.

A young man who was suffering from severe brain hemorrhage died last week when doctors refused to admit him in the emergency room at Khartoum hospital asking him to go to Ibrahim Malik hospital instead.

The Sudanese government spends only 2% of its budget on healthcare, which is far below the standard required by the World Health Organization (WHO) who asked Sudan to increase spending to 20%.

Critics assert that Humeida was appointed to implement a plan for privatizing health services.

(ST)