LIMA, Peru — Health workers for Peru’s social security system began a 48-hour walkout on Tuesday to demand higher pay and better working conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 9,000 doctors, dentists and pharmacists were taking part, prompting hospitals to suspend consultations and many surgeries, though emergency and intensive care facilities aren’t affected.
Teodoro Quiñones, secretary of the social security doctors union, said the government hasn’t kept its promises to raise salaries or pay bonuses during the pandemic.
Doctors in the public sector earn an average of $985 a month, though most supplement that with other jobs at private hospitals or offices.
The Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office said more than 4,000 health workers lack health, life and occupational risk insurance and don’t have the right to sick leave if they're diagnosed with the virus.
A total of 166 doctors have reportedly died from COVID-19 in Peru. Overall, the country has reported 32,000 dead and over 808,000 infected.