Spare a thought for the sick

HARARE - A visit to any of the country’s major hospitals is heart-breaking while government continues to ignore labour issues raised by doctors who have downed tools.

The doctors are demanding better working conditions, payment in US dollars, stocking of medicines and equipment in hospitals.

The government’s recent reaction to suspend at least 500 junior doctors is not only insensitive but evil considering that this has had devastating consequences on the majority of Zimbabweans who cannot afford to fly to foreign lands when sick.

While the illegality of the doctors’ strike has been established by the Labour Court, government’s move to suspend them has only worsened the situation throwing the whole sector into turmoil.

Yes, people are dying and in numbers simply because government believes in suspensions, and dismissals instead of dialogue and engagement.

Our doctor to patient ratio has always been high but now it is even higher thus resulting in avoidable deaths.

When the Daily News visited some of the country’s top hospitals yesterday, relatives were taking the sick home because there was neither a doctor to attend to them nor any medication. The problem is nurses alone cannot administer patients without the authorisation of doctors in many circumstances.

It is no secret that the country’s rulers are fond of travelling to foreign lands when sick, perhaps that is the reason why they do not care about the suffering of people in local hospitals.

The public health institutions are themselves in intensive care!

Hopefully, government will see sense sooner than later and accept that the doctors’ demands are genuine and need to be addressed with urgency.

The suffering that people are going through just to access medication is unbearable and we hope to see President Emmerson Mnangagwa rising to the challenge so as to put closure to this untenable situation.

Already, diseases like cholera and typhoid are lurking in the shadows and if there is an outbreak thousands could die simply because government believes it is right and the doctors are wrong.

Government has to be reminded that scare tactics will not work but can only lead to an exodus of the doctors to greener pastures, something that can only worsen the situation.

And the doctors are right in saying while they might go back to work, it is of no use without drugs and other essentials, hence such a move will only be for the optics and not necessarily to address the unfolding crisis.

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