Skip to main content

Tunisia fears losing doctors as nation counts cost of COVID surge

Tunisia’s catastrophic third wave of infections this summer has exhausted doctors. Poor working conditions and lack of respite is driving doctors overseas, as medical chiefs warn of dangerous shortages of staff to fight a fourth wave.
Amira Jamoussi, with a picture of herself pinned on her protective outfit to help others recognize her, gets ready to see patients at the Abderrahmane Memmi Hospital.

TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia’s third wave of COVID-19 is subsiding and curfews are being relaxed as the mass vaccination program gets underway. Still, senior medics warn COVID-19 battle fatigue and poor working conditions are further driving doctors overseas, leaving the country vulnerable should a fourth wave arrive with the return to normal levels of international travel.

The pandemic has pushed Tunisia’s people and medical system to a near breaking point, in part precipitating President Kais Saied’s assumption of executive power on July 25. Despite donations of vaccines, equipment and medical support, senior medics fear that long-standing poor working conditions and being overworked without respite will drive doctors overseas, leaving the service in even worse shape than before the crisis and less able to cope should another wave arrive.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.