Zimbabwe’s two biggest hospitals Harare and Parirenyatwa effectively shut their doors to the public as President Emmerson Mnangagwa continues to dither in resolving a month-old strike by junior and middle level doctors.
According to a letter addressed to clinical directors at the two hospitals by senior medical consultants and dated March 29th, the two medical institutions were closing their doors to new patients as of that day.
“The consultants have met today March 29 2018 and have noted that due the absence of junior and middle level doctors we are unable to deliver safe and adequate service to our population. In this regard we have resolved that we are unable to see and manage new patients coming into our tertiary institutions,” the letter said.
It was signed by two consultants Dr Mbuvayesango and one Dr D Chimuka.
The letter has a date stamp from Harare Central Hospital’s Administrative Matron’s office with an indication “noted” at the bottom.
Doctors across Zimbabwe have been on strike since the beginning of March and with nurses having joined in two weeks ago.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa and the Health Services Board have come under fire from the medical practitioners who have indicated that they have lost confidence in the two.
Spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association Dr Mxolisi Ngwenya on Thursday said the Health Services Board had refused to put in writing an undertaking from Mnangagwa.
“The President through Treasury availed funds for the doctors’ allowances but the Heath Services Board and the ministry have refused to put the offer in writing. They had promised to issue a circular today (Thursday) before we hold another meeting but nothing has come of it. We have lost confidence in the two and the Health Services Board has a history of abusing State funds. We have been waiting for something on paper because we know the monster we are dealing with,” said Ngwenya.
State radio reported that Cabinet had discussed the dire situation within the country’s public health system without giving details.
Mnangagwa is due out of the country on April 1st for a State visit to China amid reports of mounting deaths at across the country.
This is the first and biggest public sector strike since Mnangagwa took over from former President Robert Mugabe last November.