Hospitals stop admitting patients

HARARE - Harare and Parirenyatwa hospitals have stopped taking in new patients due to the on-going doctor’s strike.

In a March 29 letter to the hospitals’ clinical directors, consultants (senior doctors) representative committee said they could not “manage and serve new patients”.

“The consultants have met today (29 March 2018) and have noted that in the absence of junior and middle level doctors, we are unable to deliver safe and adequate service to our population,” the senior doctors said in the letter.

“In this regard, we have resolved that we are unable to see and manage any new patients coming into our tertiary hospitals,” they said.

Striking doctors have refused to report for duty despite interventions by authorities — Health minister David Parirenyatwa, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga — insisting government must first put its promises in writing.

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

He promised that 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.

Mnangagwa’s government has so far not been able to address the concerns raised by public health institutions.

The doctors — earning a basic monthly salary of about $329 — are demanding better remuneration and working conditions, among other things.

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

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

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