Striking doctors have been letdown for long

HARARE - It is disconcerting that despite well documented problems in public hospitals, government has not responded in a manner which shows an eagerness to either mitigate or end them.

The problems at public health institutions — including hospitals and laboratories — have been there for some time and some of them do not need dithering like what the authorities have done to trigger an industrial action by doctors and key medical staff at various government hospitals.

For starters, these doctors who are on strike watch with pain as they cannot save lives due to the shortages of drugs and critical equipment at their work stations.

These are the people who value life more than any other thing but for close to two decades, government has not acted in a manner which suggests it represents the sanctity of human life which the suffering doctors endeavour to save, but working under deplorable conditions.
Looking at the doctors’ demands, which have not been met despite “commitments” it is sad that government has not shown an appetite to address them yet they are very reasonable.

Doctors are demanding among other things an upward review of on-call allowance, want the government to honour its word to subsidise purchase of cars and the Health Services Board to urgently implement the agreed vehicle duty-free framework.

Every year the doctors have been raising these issues but with little success.

For example, why should doctors continue to use public transport despite numerous cases of them failing to attend to emergency cases due to mobility handicaps?

Why are doctors resident in the rural areas paid as little as $16 in allowances per month, at least judging by their claims?

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has sent positive signals since his inauguration and its welcome decision to scrap maternal fees and allow children under the age of five years and those above 65 years, to receive free treatment at hospitals, sadly does not compare favourably with what is obtaining at the public health centres. The situation at hospitals needs urgent action.

Government must honour its commitment to medical personnel manning our hospitals. Apart from doing that, it should prioritise foreign currency allocation to importation of drugs and equipment.

Zimbabwe is relying on foreign imports for its drugs, equipment and hospital consumables and imports over $400 million worth of basic drugs each year.

The austerity measures introduced should translate into meaningful injection of money where it is solely scarce such as at hospitals.

Comments (2)

If Parirenyatwa was a doctor first, he'd have resigned ages ago. He's now more of a politician (30 pieces of silver) than a doctor. He has mortgaged his integrity.

Sagitarr - 12 March 2018

The healthcare system collapsed more than 20 years ago......the life of an African is not valued at all

Jedza - 12 March 2018

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