Peruvian doctors and health workers on an indefinite strike marked the tenth day of their parallel hunger strike against President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Thursday, continuing protests outside of the country’s Ministry of Health.
The strikers, who launched their indefinite strike almost a month ago, are demanding that his government invest in infrastructure for health services across the country and increase wages for workers.
More specifically, the National Federation of Doctors is calling for an increase in the health budget, as promised by Kuczynski during his presidential campaign. They want him to increase the budget by 0.5 percent of the country's GDP every year.
Concomitantly, the health workers have demanded the resignation of Health Minister Patricia Garcia, who they accuse of avoiding dialogue with them. They claim the minister hasn't been able to address the US$200 million debt plaguing the country’s Comprehensive Health Insurance system.
“Instead of approaching us, their position is to distance themselves,” National Federation of Doctors President Godofredo Talavera said.
Representatives of the Workers Union of Peru arrived at the strike site to show their support for the doctors and health workers.
The strikers said they will continue their fight because they haven’t received answers from authorities. They claim they are willing to sacrifice their own health for the sake of patients who are “most harmed by this health crisis.”
Peru’s health sector is experiencing one of its worst crises, as hospitals are in poor condition and as there is a shortage of medicines.
Teachers in Peru have also begun a national strike to demand more spending on the education sector. The teacher's union leading the strike maintains that dialogue with the Ministry of Education has been stalled.