This is How Undersecretary Abdulhay Al-Awadi Chased down Bahraini Doctors in Gulf States

2021-03-24 - 6:26 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It is certain that the increase of unemployment among Bahraini doctors, reaching shocking levels (400 unemployed Bahraini doctors according to 2019 statistics) is deliberate.

The Bahraini authorities' targeting of Bahraini Shiite doctors in particular is based on allegations that Shiites dominate the Ministry of Health. Although these allegations date back to the 1980s, they have clearly appeared since the 1990s and government loyalists started to openly speak about them.

It is not a targeting of profession rather than a targeting of sectarian affiliation, which is a reflection of the ongoing sectarian war against Shiite citizens in Bahrain with the aim of abolishing and excluding them, by weakening and undermining their presence, even if it is a natural presence based on efficiency and competence.

According to a number of doctors and health workers, this war is waged by two parties, the first is the ruling family, because it considers everyone who belongs to this sect as an existential threat to it, and the second is members of the Salafist and Brotherhood movement and the gulf or regional extension they represent. All what they do is based on sectarian thought and the preservation of interests, taking advantage of the intense regional conflict and internal political crisis.

An important source whom Bahrain Mirror met recounts testimonies on incidents and narrations that he, himself, heard in the beginning of 1885, when he was a doctor at Al-Salmaniya Medical Complex, from the former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health Abdulhay Al-Awadi, who is known for his affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Awadi was a cardio consultant at that time.

He says that Al-Awadi used to speak bitterly about the employment of Shiites in hospital departments, and mention each and every one of them, whether they were technicians, nurses, engineers, doctors or administrators. "The man has always expressed his indignation at what he calls the lost sectarian balance in the appointments of committees or department chairs in the ministry, despite the small number of employees from the Sunni sect."

"This man played an important role to prevent some of us from entering departments such as cardiology. He used to hire doctors from India, and did not accept any Bahraini doctor from the Shiite sect in this department."

The features of this policy started to appear in the scholarship for training. No Shiite doctor was allowed to join a specialty without being accompanied with a Sunni doctor. In case there were no Sunni doctor to accompany the Shiite, the scholarship of the Shiite would be put to an end. On the other hand, all obstacles and difficulties were placed to prevent Bahraini Shiite doctors from attaining specialties in some departments such as cardiology, meanwhile, naturalized persons were introduced instead.

Al-Awadi was able to do all of this when he was just a consultant doctor without holding an administrative post, because he had great influence in the Civil Service Bureau, and among some officials in the ministry. So how worse did the situation become when he became a chief doctor at Al-Salmaniya, and then an assistant undersecretary, and then an undersecretary under the reign of the sectarian minister, who belongs to Muslim Brotherhood, Fatima Al-Baloushi, who took over the ministry during the 2011 events?

Abdulhay Al-Awadi served as Ministry of Health undersecretary from 2009 until September 2011, during which he was able to build a complete administrative system that serves these trends. However, what happened after 2011 was the culmination of his efforts and long-term plans.

The Shiite doctors working in the ministry were the main obstacle to this plan, and were overcome through the use of security, the military and politics, by arrests, trials, dismissals and suspensions from work, and humiliating the rest of them and making them live in a state of professional turmoil even if they were on the job without arrest or trial, in order to make them work under appalling and harsh conditions, forcing many of them to retire early and leave.

This purge was carried out in parallel with the militarization of the administration during the emergency period (national safety), through Dr. Salman Al Khalifa, Aisha Bou Onuk (prior to her appointment as an undersecretary), Fatima Al-Baloushi, Al-Awadi and the rest of the system's staff from Jassim Al-Mahzaa, Waleed Al-Manae and Fatima Abdulwahed.

Abdulhay Al-Awadi didn't stop at this that. He became more toxic, as he started to persecute Shiite doctors in the rest of the Gulf States, and issued a circular prohibiting the employment of any Bahraini doctor in government health institutions (within the Gulf states) without the approval of the Bahraini Ministry of Health, and therefore he prevented the employment of those who wanted to flee Bahrain to the Gulf states. Bahraini doctors working in Qatar at that time were also dismissed.

According to special information obtained by Bahrain Mirror, Al-Awadi was not only sectarian, but corrupted. During his first term as an undersecretary in the Ministry of Health, the International Pharmacy (a pharmacy owned by his family, where he was a member of its board of directors at that time. It was later named Bahrain Pharmacy), obtained in only four years tenders from the Ministry of Health in excess of BD20 million.

Thanks to these millions and ongoing tenders from the Health Ministry, Al-Awadi's family, in partnership with others, owns the largest percentage in one of the largest new private hospitals in Bahrain, Al-Salam Hospital in Riffa, which was opened in 2019. The hospital extends on a 27,000-square-meter, includes 11 floors and comprises 70 beds. Al-Awadi's family also has two seats in the board of directors for brothers: Abdulmajid Al-Awadi (former undersecretary in the Electricity Ministry) and Abdulhay Al-Awadi (former undersecretary in the Health Ministry). The hospital's chief executive is Ramez Al-Awadi. The family also has a seat in the Supreme Council of Health, where Abdulhay Al-Awadi represents them as a representative of private health institutions. 

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