Tunis, Tunisia – Hundreds of medics protested in Tunisia on Friday after a young doctor died in a hospital elevator accident in the country’s northwest.
Badreddedine Aloui, 27, plunged to his death Thursday down an elevator shaft after the lift doors opened but with no elevator in place, witnesses interviewed by local media said.
The elevator, in a hospital in the marginalised Jendouba region, had allegedly remained in service despite a long-reported fault.
Hundreds of doctors, health workers and medical students gathered in front of the health ministry in the capital Tunis on Friday, demanding the health minister and other officials be sacked, an AFP correspondent reported.
The hospital has been visited by two government ministers over the past months, including Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi in October.
“A young doctor has died as a result of this negligence,” said Zied Bouguerra, a member of the Tunisian Organisation of Young Doctors.
After general strikes in Beja and Kairouan, Tunisia’s young doctors are on strike today – protesting the death of a 26-year old colleague who fell into a broken elevator shaft while on duty, highlighting the broken public health infrastructure @liliagaida https://t.co/W6uAuwjuxC
— katharina grüneisl (@katharinagrneis) December 4, 2020
A protest was also held in the eastern port city of Sfax.
Local media reported that Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi ordered a state funeral, with the surgeon to be buried Friday in his native Kasserine, in western Tunisia.
Tunisians have also taken to social media to denounce what they say are disfunctional public services, particularly in the health sector, in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Another victim of corruption and instutional recklessness in Tunisia
Badr is a 27 years old intern surgeon doctor in the hospital of Jendouba in Northwest Tunisia who died after using the hospital’s broken elevator that fell from the 5th floor#RIP#سبيطارات_الموت pic.twitter.com/Gezo4vdDtJ
— Abdallah Kerkeni (@KerkeniAbdallah) December 4, 2020
Tunisia had managed to keep its outbreak largely contained until the end of June but cases have soared in recent months.
The North African country has officially registered over 3 300 deaths and is nearing 100 000 infections.
I always watching friends serie. I remember the episode “the one where drake ramoray dies”. It was an amazing fiction. But it happened in real life. A doctor in jandouba had the same destiny falling into elevator cage#Tunisia #tunisie #doctor #jandouba #تونس pic.twitter.com/xZtOsPIT5G
— Macherki M E (@EMacherki) December 4, 2020
Hospitals with limited resources and management problems have been struggling to cope.
The accident came at a time when the country’s health budget is currently before parliament.