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News > Latin America

Bolivia: Medical Strike Ends as Gov't, Doctors Ratify Deal

  • Healthcare employees during a protest Jan. 9, 2017.

    Healthcare employees during a protest Jan. 9, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 January 2018

The nation-wide medical strike ended days after the president threatened legal action against the doctors who continued the strike despite the deal.

The Bolivian government and representatives of Bolivia’s Medical Association ratified their earlier agreement Tuesday night, putting an end to the 47-day-long medical strike against Presidential Decree 3385, which created the Supervision Authority for the National Health System, and Article 205 of the newly-proposed Penal Code that would sanction professional negligence and medical malpractice.

Evo Morales Takes Legal Action to Re-Establish Medical Care

The deal was announced during a press conference close to midnight by Minister of Government Carlos Romero and the Medical Association’s President Anibal Cruz. Romero celebrated the decision to lift the strike calling it “an intelligent and reasonable decision.”

Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales, also commended the decision vía Twitter saluting "the workers who never stopped" and "those who enabled the end of the strike that caused such harm to thousands of sick people," reiterating his “commitment to work for a sensitive, solidary, universal and free health service.”

The move comes just days after Morales announced legal actions to restore health services, arguing the measure had affected the poorest Bolivians, violating their “constitutional right.” 

Earlier this month, the Bolivian government and Bolivia’s Doctor’s Association agreed to end the nationwide medical strike and protests while the Bolivian government agreed to revoke the controversial articles of the Penal Code. However, doctors and medical professionals didn't re-establish health services leading Morales to lament the “attempt of a political and anti-democratic conspiracy.”

Morales responded by saying the medical professionals were maintaining the strike as a “conspiracy” carried out by opposition sectors that are intent on hurting his 2019 presidential bid.

The transport sector also joined the strike as professional drivers temporarily blocked several highways Monday before the police dispersed them using tear gas and restored traffic. The president of Bolivia’s Senate has invited the transport sector to dialogue to resolve their demands, saying that Article 137, which they oppose, will also be eliminated from the Penal Code.

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