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Medics offer free service to deny state revenue

Health workers in Burkina Faso have come up a novel form of industrial action. They are working this week by refusing to take payments from patients.

The prime minister says health workers are undermining the government's health policies.

The prime minister says health workers are undermining the government’s health policies. Photos: BBC

The protest, which started on Monday, is proving most successful in small clinics where health workers take payments themselves.

It’s a different story in the country’s hospitals where cashiers take a fee of 1,500 CFA ($2; £1) from all patients apart from pregnant women and children under the age of five.

Nevertheless one relative of a patient at Ouagadougou’s biggest hospital, Yalgado Ouedraougo, told the BBC’s Simon Gongo that she had avoided paying.

Aissata Ouedraogo said: ‘’We’ve been free receiving treatment. Since this morning nurses and doctors are coming to see the sick. It’s really good. It allows us to save money for other things.’’

This is the latest in a series of actions this year by the National Union for Human and Animal Health Workers.

The union claims the government is being too slow to honour an agreement made in March 2017 to settle pay, recruitment and promotion grievances.

Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba says workers are undermining Burkina Faso’s budget and trying to sabotage the government’s health policies.

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