BEIRUT — Civil servants who work at the Rafik Hariri University Hospital forced their way into the headquarters of the Health Ministry in Beirut on Monday to protest the deterioration of their working conditions and demand the payment of their salaries.
Here’s what we know:
• “We want to live in dignity. We are asking for aid, especially following the surge in fuel prices,” said one protester, according to remarks reported by the SBI TV channel. “We have no more money, and can no longer get to our workplaces,” said another.
• With state subsidies on the commodity gone, fuel prices in Lebanon have risen dramatically since last summer, and 20 liters of gasoline now costs more than two-thirds of the monthly minimum wage.
• The protesters met with Health Minister Firass Abiad, who arrived at the ministry shortly after their rally began. The protesters complained that they had not been given an appointment for more than three weeks to meet with the minister, who until he took up his present post in September last year was the director of RHUH.
• The health sector, like many others, is suffering the consequences of the multidimensional crisis in the country. Faced with the national currency’s collapse, many health workers are emigrating. According to the World Health Organization, 40 percent of doctors and 30 percent of nurses working in Lebanon have left since the onset of the crisis in 2019.