Thursday, February 9, 2012

Activists detained for demanding health rights

Activists demand government action to resolve health crisis or resign

Thirteen leaders of national and grassroots activist organizations in Tanzania have been detained today by the government in the Oyster Bay Police Station, Dar es Salaam, in a government clamp down on protests by women/feminist and human rights activists against the failure of the government to resolve the health crisis arising from a two week doctors strike in Tanzania. The leaders come from LHRC, TGNP, TAMWA, NEDPHA and several other grassroots organizations. They and others were on their way to Muhimbili Hospital to await the outcome of talks which the Prime Minister was having with striking doctors. On Wednesday 8thFebruary more than 200 activists successfully ‘occupied’ Salendar Bridge and the roads leading into it for two hours, and got major media attention and support from motorists and passersby for their action, based on the posters demanding that the Minister of Health and other top officials must resign; and protesting the failure of the President’s Office and the Parliament to give the situation priority. Countless numbers of people have died as a result of the strike. However, as the participating organizations such as TGNP have noted, people were dying long before this strike because of the lack of adequate human, financial and material resources provided to health care at all levels.

Many of the organizations leading the protest are members of the Feminist Activist Coalition, Fem Act, including TGNP, TAMWA, LHRC, HakiElimu, SIKIKA, and NEDPHA; others belong to Policy Forum, including Policy Forum itself; and many others are grassroots organisations participating in the Gender and Development Seminar Series [GDSS].

[Anna Kikwa is one of the TGNP leaders locked up, along with Diana
Mwiru and Dorothy Mbilinyi from GTI; Helen Kijo Bisimba and Marcos of
LHRC, Anananilea Nkya of TAMWA, Specioza Mwankina of NEDIPHA and
several GDSS organisations]

Marjorie Mbilinyi, TGNP



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