PHM Statement in Solidarity with the Struggle of Moroccan Students against Privatisation of Medical and Pharmaceutical Schools

People’s Health Movement holds the Moroccan authorities responsible for the crisis situation in the health sector and call them to respond to the demands of peacefully protesting students at medical and pharmaceutical schools

The People’s Health Movement (PHM) is following, with great interest, the struggle of the students of medical and pharmaceutical schools in Morocco. Since April 25, 2019, students have used different forms of peaceful protesting, including strike from study and hospital training, and local and national marches, to defend public universities in general and medical and pharmacy schools in particular which face privatization policies and suffering from mismanagement of public educational facilities.

The movement affirms our solidarity with the struggle of more than 15,000 students to stop all forms of privatization in the medical education sector. We believe that transferring medical education to the private sector and opening medical schools with special privileges in Casablanca and Rabat is equivalent to the withdrawal of state from its responsibility for public medical education. This will exacerbate the weakness of medical education and negatively impact on medicine, pharmacy and dentistry students from low-income and poor settings.

The PHM denounces the security measures of the Moroccan government against the peaceful protestors of the students and preventing them from delivering their demands. We also condemn the suppression of peaceful demonstrations of retired professors by the authorities and chasing them in streets using water hoses and trained dogs to intimidate the protesters and threatening their safety. We consider these actions by the authorities a flagrant violation of the right to peaceful demonstration and assembly guaranteed by the Moroccan constitution and international human rights treaties. We hold the Moroccan authorities responsible for the safety of the protestors and responsible for any further deterioration of the situation.

The PHM strongly opposes all forms of privatization in the health sector, which has a significant impact on people’s health and living condition; leading to increased impoverishment and disease; and dramatically hindering the right to health and health care for the majority of the poor and low-income people in Morocco. Therefore, the PHM demands: that the Moroccan authorities represented by the Ministries of Health and Education use direct dialogue instead of aggression; respond immediately to student demands; take a series of effective and fair measures that include expanding the quality of hospital training, especially in Tangier and Agadir; improve educational facilities and increase public spending on education including higher education; stop corruption in the medical education sector; expand the medical education staff and reforming the school system to respond to the needs of the educational students. The movement also demands the state to stop tampering with the health sector and stop the permission of monopoly projects in the education and health sector.