Doctors' strike widens

HARARE - In an escalation of demands for improved pay and better working conditions, doctors yesterday announced they were widening their strike until government “plays ball”, further compounding problems for stranded patients at the country’s public hospitals.

The announcement comes as senior medical staff have joined junior doctors who have been on strike for the post two weeks.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association said they were not making unreasonable demands and blamed Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa and the Health Services Board (HSB) for failing to accord urgency in resolving their concerns.

“The ZHDA is recalling all the doctors we had instructed to remain at their stations to cover for emergencies. This in effect implies that from tomorrow (today) day 14 of the strike all consultants, registrars, district medical officers and general medical officers are now formally joining the strike,” ZHDA said in a statement.

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 HSB to urgently implement the agreed vehicle duty-free framework.

They are also want a review of the $16 a month rural allowance paid to government doctors that treat the majority of Zimbabwe’s population in rural areas.

Apart from that they are concerned that government’s well-intentioned decision to provide free maternal health care, treat children under five years and adults above 65 years for free, needs to be backed by huge stocks of drugs at the hospitals.

“The Health Services Board and Parirenyatwa have not been forthcoming to resolve the issues raised by the ZHDA members.

“Instead, they have engaged in deliberate misinformation of the public using State media and resorted to a failed strategy of issuing legally void threats to the striking doctors. This in our view is a sign of failure and must be immediately followed by resignation of the entire Health Services Board and the minister of Health.

“We note with concern the closure of almost all central hospitals, children’s units, provincial hospitals and cessation of emergency lifesaving procedures throughout the country. We place this failure directly on the heels of Parirenyatwa and the Health Services Board who have shown disinterest and lack of urgency in resolving the demands of the striking doctors,” said the ZHDA.

The ongoing strike has caused untold suffering to desperate patients at major government hospitals.

Parirenyatwa and Harare Central hospitals have had to suspend a number of services due to the absence of key medical staff.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has so far not been able to end the myriad problems affecting the public health institutions.

Apart from having to replace old equipment, most State hospitals and pharmacies are struggling to stock drugs due to poor planning and failure to access foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for the importation of critical medicines.

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 importation of drugs and essential medicines has been further worsened by the troubles at the country’s biggest pharmaceutical company — CAPS Holdings — which used to satisfy 75 percent of the country’s market.

Due to the worsening shortages of currency, hospitals have been experiencing shortages of oxygen.

The shortage of oxygen comes as doctors are battling to contain the outbreak of bronchiolitis which has seen a surge in the number of children seeking treatment.

Last year, most hospitals struggled to stock critical drugs and vaccines.

Thousands of newly-born babies faced significant health risks after the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which prevents infants from contracting tuberculosis (TB), was temporarily in short supply.

Newly-born babies are vaccinated with BCG to prevent them from contracting TB, which is listed among the top six infant killers in the country.

In 2016, major referral hospitals also had to suspend many services as a result of the shortage of drugs, including painkillers — exposing how much things had fallen apart in the country since the early 2000s.


 

Comments (2)

Pamberi nokubatanaaaaa pasi nemhanduuuuuu. Dont worry Chamisa ari kuuya very soon izvo taneta nazvo. Kana anofunga kuti iwaya madhokota nemanesi vanodawo kudya, ivo vachingodhla, vogodhla, vodhlazve su takatarira. Mwari ihwai ngoni Kani.

kachipindi Shingirai - 15 March 2018

"The VOICE OF PEOPLE IS THE VOICE OF GOD" HOPEFULLY THE POWERS THAT BE WILL TAKE HEED AND RECTIFY THE ROT AND CONCERNS OF BOTH THE MEDICAL AND CONTRACT EMPLOYEES IN THE HEALTH SECTOR WHO HAVE BEEN UNDER PAYED SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL AND ALSO CLEANSE THE ROT IN THE ENTIRE PUBLIC SERVICE AND GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS WITH THE URGENCY IT DESERVES

justice - 15 March 2018

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.