On 12 January 2009 the health workers in Gabon’s public hospitals in Libreville went on strike. Following a prominent and successful strike in the education sector, health workers were inspired to begin their own campaign. They demanded that the government provide higher wages and better working conditions and recommit to its agreement from a previous strike in 2003. Workers also sought more modern equipment for their hospitals so that they could provide care comparable to that of the high-tech private hospitals with which the public hospital competed.
Gabon, a nation of 1.5 million people, is the sixth largest oil exporter in Africa. In 2008, the country was producing as many as 250,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Foreign investors included Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Tullow Oil Plc., and Canadian Natural Resources.