Doctors' strike has become national crisis

HARARE - Public hospitals doctors’ strike has clocked a month today.

The impasse between the health professionals and government — the third in three years over the same issues — has taken an unnecessarily long time to resolve.

But the pain has mainly been borne by the ordinary struggling masses, who cannot afford to seek medical attention at private hospitals and foreign health institutions like the political elites — President Emmerson Mnangagwa et al .

It has turned out to be a huge mess.

The doctors seem not to be asking for too much, considering the amounts of money spent by government on other non-important issues like foreign travels compared to the citizenry’s health care.

While newly-installed Mnangagwa has made efforts to cut on foreign travel costs, he — together with his entourage, though smaller than his predecessor Robert Mugabe’s — has spent significant amounts on attending conferences around the world, which may turn out to be talk shows anyway.

Considering that the country is at a point it needs more action than talk — Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, the amounts and time spent by the Mnangagwa administration could go a long way in lending the doctors an ear and addressing their demands.

The health professionals are asking for a better remuneration and working conditions.

They earn a pittance of around $329 basic salary and on-call allowances of $1,50 per month.

It’s a spit in the face.

Apart from that, they work under pathetic working conditions — old malfunctioning equipment and lack of basics such as gloves and intravenous fluid, popularly known as drip.

But what disheartens is the rather casual approach by our country’s leadership in addressing the professionals — who go for a gruelling long seven years training — plight.

At some point, tackled on the matter by media, Mnangagwa claimed his administration was working behind the scenes to resolve the matter.

His response was not convincing. Far from it.

In addition to that, the Health ministry went on to threaten to withhold the health professionals’ salaries and allowances, if they did not report for duty.

That was before vice president Constantino Chiwenga went on to make promises and commitments, which he failed to put in writing.

After all is said and done, this has clearly shown the Mnangagwa administration’s lack of commitment to solve the crisis, which is broadly a national crisis.

Like many have argued, long-suffering Zimbabweans seem to be stuck with the same regime not concerned about the people’s plight.

Comments (1)

ndokuti tizive pekuvhota Chamisa ndiye ane yese

g40 - 31 March 2018

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