Docs to strike today against ETCA etc.

The Government Medical Officers’ Association, backed by the Government Dentists Association and the Government Ayurvedic Practitioners Association will hold a countrywide token strike today in all government hospitals.

A spokesman for the GMOA said the strike had been organised in protest against the signing of Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement with India without formulating a national policy on international trade agreements and several other issues including privatizing medical education and Health Ministry acting against the objectives of the National Drug Policy, attempts to weaken the public service and amend the Doctors’ Service Minute without consulting the stakeholders and the Education Ministry’s failure to admit the children of doctors who had been transferred or had gone for overseas training to relevant schools.

The GMOA has vehemently opposed moves being made to have the graduates of the Malabe private medical college reregistered with the Sri Lanka Medical Council.

"Although the Health Ministry officials and other government officials were made aware of the above factors on several occasions in writing as well as by way of discussions they have not heeded them," the spokeman said.

Meanwhile, President of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya has recently said a group of intellectuals who drafted the ETCA with the blessings of the government had sought to subjugate Sri Lanka’s national interest to that of India.

"Many countries have adopted national policies on international trade agreements. Even some African nations have such policies. Sri Lanka, too, must formulate a national policy on international trade agreements.

If we have such a policy then we can devise a mechanism to take action when such agreements turn out to be disadvantageous to us.

"Our courts have no power when bilateral agreements go wrong. The only process is arbitration. In the process of arbitration always the powerful party calls the shots. In an arbitration process with India we don’t stand a chance," he said.



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