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Poorly paid doctors in Mozambique in paper plate protest

6/12/2013, 12:34 p.m.
Jun. 11 (GIN) - With tape over their mouths and waving paper plates, Mozambique's doctors...
Poorly paid doctors in Mozambique in paper plate protest

Jun. 11 (GIN) - With tape over their mouths and waving paper plates, Mozambique's doctors marched in the capital city Maputo, demanding higher wages.

Over 600 medics, including doctors and nurses, wore face masks to symbolize the government's silence in response to their demands.

Three days of talks with the health ministry last week yielded no results. Riot police with dogs stopped the protesters from marching near the prime minister's offices.

The workers waved paper plates with the inscription "hunger" and "empty", with some wailing and rubbing their stomachs.

One protester held a placard reading: "We are tired of counting our small change at the end of the month".

The medics are also demanding better working conditions in hospitals.

"We are exposed to a lot of sicknesses. Every day we are covered in blood, piss and everything. But the president doesn't respect what we do," said a worker who earns the equivalent of $70 a month

Mozambique has a total of 1,200 doctors in both public and private practice countrywide, with a ratio of one doctor to 22,000 Mozambicans. Ironically, money is pouring into the country, exploiting the large coal deposits, natural gas and oil. Mozambique's economy has grown significantly over the past decade thanks to investments from China, the UAE, Mauritius and Brazil. The African Development Bank expects growth to rise to 8.5 per cent this year and 8 per cent next.