GMOA claims strike a success

Published : 9:08 am  September 22, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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An employee at the National Hospital in Colombo is seen taking advantage of yesterday’s GMOA strike to clean up the Out Patients Department (OPD) of the hospital. Pic by Kushan Pathiraja     



By Kalathma Jayawardhane   

Healthcare and education services countrywide were disrupted yesterday because of the 24-hour strike launched by several trade unions against the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) in Malabe.   


Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge told a media briefing that government doctors including ayurvedic doctors, dental and veterinary surgeons stopped work from 8.00 a.m. yesterday and would continue the work stoppage till 8.00 a.m. today.   

“We have successfully launched the 24-hour strike yesterday in hospitals countrywide. The main motive behind these strikes is to get a permanent and reasonable solution to the SAITM issue,” he added.   

However, he said emergency treatment at all the hospitals was carried out uninterrupted.   

Meanwhile, Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) General Secretary Joseph Stalin told the Daily Mirror that about 60 per cent of teachers at state schools kept away by applying sick leave.   

“The strike action against the SAITM launched by twelve unions attached to education sector was a success. Around 70 per cent of teachers from remote areas and 50 per cent of teachers from urban areas have applied for sick leave yesterday,” he added.   
He said they had launched this strike in protest of SAITM as well as against the privatization of the education in the country.  

However, speaking to the Daily Mirror Education Ministry Media Secretary Kalpa Gunaratne said there was no effect on the educational activities at schools yesterday though several teachers’ union had claimed that they were on sick leave.   

Meanwhile, thousands of patients who called over yesterday at government hospitals in several areas including Matale, Polonnaruwa , Anuradhapura, Kandy , Monaragala and almost all hospitals in the Nuwara Eliya district seeking treatment returned in disappointment due to the strike against the SAITM.   

The patients who sought OPD treatments and those expected to attend clinics scheduled for yesterday were the worst affected.  

Secretary of the GMOA Polonnaruwa branch Dr. G.D.P Bandara said the strike in the Polonnaruwa district was a success. Patients who called over at the Anuradhapura district from remote areas early yesterday were waiting at the hospital for long hours until the time of buses to return.  Deputy Director of the hospital Dr, Dulan Amaraweera said the patients in the OPD were the worst affected. He said the treatment of in-house patients, urgent surgical operations, treatment of cancer, and kidney patients were going on uninterrupted. Similar reports had been received from other areas as well.   

(Additional reporting by K.G.Karunaratne, M.W.Somaratne , Atula Bandara, L.B.Senaratne, Sumanasiri Gunatilleka and Sudath Hewa and Kusal Chamath)