Govt doctors earn US$283

HARARE - Junior doctors working in Zimbabwe’s public health institutions are earning $283 per month, an income which is way below the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency’s poverty datum line of $511.

The doctors, who spend at least five years in Medical School, also receive on-call and house-call allowances at $70,75 and $129 respectively per month.

Those who opt not to stay at the hospitals where they work, receive an allowance of $250 each month, which will ultimately see them receive a total of $549 per month after factoring in deductions such as income tax or pay as you earn (Paye) and National Social Security Authority (Nssa) at $19,55, $6 and $26,14 respectively.

Those who reside at the hospital are not entitled to the $250 residential allowances, meaning they take home $297,75

The doctors are not flexible to find greener pastures as they are bonded to public health institutions for two years’ post-graduation.

The more senior specialist doctors earn anything between $1 000 and $1 400 per month, but most supplement their income by going into private practice where they run their own surgeries.

This shocking revelation comes at a time when heads of parastatals such as Public Service Medical Aid Society(Psmas) take home close to half a million dollars per month.

Arthur Mhizha, president of the Hospital Doctors’ Association,  told the Daily News all efforts to have their salaries reviewed upwards had fallen on deaf ears.

“We had a meeting with the Health Services Board on the 18th of February this year, but they said they had no money and therefore could not review our salaries,” he said.

Describing the snub as a slap in the face, Mhizha added: “This is unacceptable considering the burden of responsibility we have.

“What hurts the most is that some of these doctors cannot even afford medical aid. We are also frustrated by the fact that even the lowest paid junior doctors in the region in places like Swaziland and Lesotho get at least  $1 500 per month.”

While Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa was said to be out of the country on business, his deputy Paul Chimedza said his ministry was aware of the appalling doctors’ remuneration.

“We are aware of the situation but are yet to be appraised of the meeting which took place with the Health Services Board,” Chimedza said, referring further questions to the minister of Public Service Nicholas Goche.

Goche also declined to comment, referring questions to the chairperson of the Health Services Board, Lovemore Mbengeranwa. All efforts to contact Mbengeranwa at the time of going to press were futile.

Doctors at most public institutions operate under harsh conditions where some of the equipment they use is outdated. They also bear the brunt when patients fail to access the simplest of tests such as a full blood count (fbc), among other mundane tests.

A doctor who is currently based at Chitungwiza Hospital said they were demanding decent pay for their labour which will enable them to afford basic needs which other professionals access.

An irate senior doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity said the problem of poor remuneration not only affected junior doctors in public service, but those in private practice as well.

“We  used to make our money in private practice but lately the situation has been really bad as some medical aid societies like Psmas are not paying what they owe us,” said the specialist. “Can you imagine we sweat it out everyday giving our all at public hospitals as we feel it is a way of giving back.

“We do this with the hope of getting our money at our private practices but that is not happening anymore because of a few corrupt individuals and the end result is that we are training doctors for other nations like South Africa and New Zealand because as soon as these young doctors finish training, they leave for greener pastures.”

Comments (17)

Cuthbert Dube and Gershom Pasi are you there? Your comments please !

Teabag Masamba - 5 March 2014

Off course corruption will always be the order of the day in a failed state.

Failed state - 5 March 2014

Get a perspective. Five years in medical school. Who pays for that. No one compels anyone to go to medical school

john moyo - 5 March 2014

On the other hand, six months of training and one graduates as a police officer and earns the same amount as a Doctor. A slap in the face for our doctors indeed and Defeats the the purpose of investing and working hard for valuable education.

taps - 5 March 2014

I wonder what you exoect or must expect from a country on autopilot? Ther is no leadership for this country. Yangova njake njake! With a leader 10 years short of a century in age, surely chimwe nechimwe chongoita zvocoda. Those with guns take on behalf of us all with the help of a few of their friends in that zany party!

Tongogara - 5 March 2014

Izvi zvinoomesa mate mumuromo . This is evil . Chokwadi $283 against $250000 per month! Ndirikuti tichakakwana here munyika medu muno?

mambo - 5 March 2014

Chero nenivo Gumbura zvandigumbura izvi. Ko inga wani maiti mairwira vanhu? Let's be serious guys. Let's reward efforts dzevana vedu. Uchamuda Doctor iyeye paunorwara.

Gumbura - 5 March 2014

Where are the warvets who claim to represent the interest of people?

bhutsumutandarika - 5 March 2014

Vaita hako Bhutsumutandarika vandiyeuchidza nezve ma Warvet. Ko vanhu ava vachiriko here? Vangova hari dzofanzirofa. Vakanyanya ku zingaira. Vakanyararirei?

Rook - 5 March 2014

its so painful and i am sure his excellency is quite aware of the plight our doctors are facing and thats why he flies out just for a mere eye cataract.He knows he cannot trust a disgruntled doctor.

mutiro - 6 March 2014

Actually vaphanha ava get kuma$800 or so minus $250 optional Pare Housing BUT main prob is ey take ma$10000 loans wc they hv 2 pay back in 3 yrs.

Bvunzai isusu - 6 March 2014

hapana chinoshamisira tese tese muhurememnde ndo pay yacho some of us r going hme with 247 takukuendawo ku university

rudo - 6 March 2014

Kuita doctor , hakuchabhadhare mazuvano. Nxaaa!!! And then you expect these folks to give proper service in public hospitals at such low salaries.

Munotidako - 6 March 2014

true noone forced them to join medical school. when we were at high school i advised some of my friends not to take up sciences. but waida mbiri yekunzi wachaita medicine. isu takaita hedu economics dzedu pa UZ we are doing well in the finacial sector.

dibango - 6 March 2014

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Natural Herbs - 6 March 2014

pay them well .there are there to look at our health. we the poor zimbos.why shld police, army and security personnel get more than the highly educated doctors.ministers we voted you to clear our good nation.sit down and look at this doctors problem as a group not one party.

john dube - 6 March 2014

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