Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Junior doctors who were on strike for the past two weeks, will have to repeat their rotations for three months before they proceed to the next level, the Health and Child Care Ministry has said. In an internal letter dated March 6, 2017 addressed to all hospital chief executive officers, Secretary for Health and Child Care Dr Gerald Gwinji, said the move was in line with rules and regulations of training doctors.
“Junior doctors who were away from training for a period of 14 days and above will be required to repeat the rotations for three months to end of May 2017.
“This is in compliance with the rules and regulations of training as issued by the University of Zimbabwe’s College of Health Sciences (UZ-CHS) and the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe,” said Dr Gwinji.
He said in addition to the repetition of rotations, the doctors’ leave days would also be forfeited for the days they were on strike.
“One of the agreement was that the members who withdrew their labour will forfeit vacation leave days in lieu of days not worked guided by the principle of no work no pay,” he said.
Dr Gwinji said all doctors who qualify with a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery in 2017 will be deployed to commence internship with effect from April 2, 2017.
The doctors condemned the Government’s position threatening to down tools again should it insist on the three months rotation.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president Dr Edgar Munatsi, said the decision was not fair.
“Our members are so disturbed with this decision to have them repeat rotations for three months and we might go back on strike if they do not reverse it,” said Dr Munatsi.
Junior doctors downed tools on February 15, 2017 and resumed work on Monday March 6, 2017 following an agreement with their employer.
The doctors were demanding an upward review of on call allowances, non-monetary incentives and creation of additional posts for district medical officers.
Government has since increased the doctor’s on call allowances from $288 per month to $360 per month.
It also increased the night duty allowance from $50 to $91 on a sliding scale.
The duty free incentive has been replaced by the employer assisted car loan scheme.
Government has also availed 250 posts for junior doctors.