Defiant doctors want govt to commit in writing

HARARE - Striking doctors have refused to return to work despite the intervention by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, insisting government must first put its promises in writing.

Mxolisi Ngwenya, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors’ Association (ZHDA), yesterday said while they welcomed Chiwenga’s pledge, the promises lacked sincerity as they were yet to be put in writing to make them legally binding.

“They (doctors) also requested set time lines and specific figures for rural, housing and medical allowances.

“They also requested for documentation to rescind the cessation of salaries and to ensure no victimisation, copied to all human resource departments and clinical directors,” reads part of the statement issued by ZHDA.

“They also asked for a slight raise in the offer made to $7,50 an hour, noting that the nation’s coffers are not well-stocked. A duty-free waiver for all our members, once off.”

On Wednesday, Chiwenga who was acting president, met consultants representing doctors and agreed to resolve the myriad issues that sparked the industrial action three weeks ago.

He said every doctor on industrial action would get their full salary after rescinding a letter from the Health ministry advising cessation of salaries for those who had downed their tools.

Health and Child Care permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji had raised tempers after he called on heads of institutions to freeze salaries for those participating in the industrial action.

This was despite the fact that the doctors had followed the labour laws by advising government of their intention to strike, 21 days prior.

Chiwenga had also promised an increment in on-call allowances from $1,50 to $5 per hour, and laid out a road map to ultimately increase the allowance to $10 per hour.

He also pledged an increase in rural medical allowances and that he would ensure that there was no victimisation, salary cuts and repeating of rotations.

Chiwenga also agreed to ensure that the vehicle loan scheme be implemented forthwith given that some doctors were using public transport to attend to dire emergencies because they cannot afford duty on second hand vehicles imported from Japan.

In a statement, ZHDA said the strike’s main objective was not centred on money but to push government to provide hospitals with essentials.

Ngwenya said free healthcare for expecting mothers, children under five years of age and senior citizens over the age of 65 was meaningless if the hospitals do not have fluids and drugs.

The strike — the third in as many years — has affected central hospitals, children’s units, provincial hospitals and causing cessation of emergency lifesaving procedures throughout the country.

Yesterday, at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, protesters sang and toyi-toyied carrying placards denigrating Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa.
Toyi-toyi is a southern African dance originally from Zimbabwe.

It was popularised by Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army forces and has become synonymous with protests in Africa.

Toyi-toyi could begin as the stomping of feet and spontaneous chanting during protests that could include political slogans or songs, either improvised or previously created.

In Bulawayo, at Mpilo Hospital, the luxury SUV belonging to the health institution’s chief executive officer (CEO), Leonard Mabandi was plastered with placards written “CEO has a Discovery 4 (while) patients have no drip”.

Comments (1)


g40 - 25 March 2018

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