Striking medical doctors yesterday vowed to continue with their industrial action, which started nine days ago, as they accused the government of not taking their grievances seriously.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) said, although the government had taken steps to meet their demands, it had not shown commitment to fulfilling the promises it was making.
“As of today, the Health ministry has made some effort in establishing general medical officer posts, but we still await distribution list of the posts and we also want assurance that registrars, who are working for free in hospitals, will be included in these posts,” ZHDA said in a statement.
“The other two demands have not yet been addressed. The sluggish response (Health) minister David Parirenyatwa has given these issues shows how little he values the healthcare of Zimbabweans.”
Parirenyatwa yesterday said he was touring all public hospitals to assess the situation.
“We have bent backwards almost on everything to attend to their demands,” he told NewsDay last night. “I can guarantee them that all will be sorted and the posts are available.”
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa had told the National Assembly during question time that Cabinet had tasked Parirenyatwa to engage the striking doctors so that they return to work while their grievances were being addressed.
Mnangagwa said Parirenyatwa had presented a long list of demands that doctors wanted addressed before they could return to work and the ministry was working on them.
Among the demands, the doctors want an increase in their on-call allowances to $720 per month, as well as provision of a facility to import vehicles duty-free into the country. The strike intensified last week after senior doctors from the department of obstetrics and gynaecology joined in, saying they would only resume their duties after the return of junior doctors, as they were now overwhelmed by work.
The doctors alleged that some authorities had resorted to threatening them, as a way to force them back to work.
“This is a major setback to all negotiations we have done so far. Let’s be united in these times and save our healthcare system in Zimbabwe. Let’s be the voice of reason for our patients,” ZHDA said.