19/09/2021

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Tunisian medics protest over death of young colleague

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Hundreds of medics protest in Tunisia on Friday following the death of a young doctor in a hospital elevator in the Jendouba region of the country’s northwest.

Badreddedine Aloui, 26, plunged to his death on Thursday down an elevator shaft after the lift doors opened but with no elevator in place, witnesses said.

“He was only 26 years old, he had his whole future ahead of him. Today, he and his family have been deprived of a bright future, why? Because we live in a system that doesn’t try to improve, that does not try to make things work, to not have too many problems, and in the end we don’t fix, we don’t repair. In the end the accident happens, and there are deaths”, said Dr. Zakaria Bouguerra.

The elevator, in a hospital in the marginalized Jendouba region, had allegedly remained in service despite a long-reported fault.

Hundreds of medics including doctors, health workers and medical students gathered in front of the health ministry in the capital Tunis, demanding the health minister and other officials be sacked.

The hospital has been visited by two government ministers over the past months, including Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi in October.

A similar protest was also held in the eastern port city of Sfax.

Local media reported that Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has ordered a state funeral for the late surgeon to be buried in his native Kasserine, in western Tunisia on Friday.

Tunisians have also taken to social media to denounce what they say are dysfunctional public services, particularly in the health sector, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.