Senior doctors go on strike

HARARE – It never rains but pours for long-suffering and impoverished ordinary Zimbabweans who will have to brace for the worst at government hospitals after senior doctors yesterday joined the on-going nationwide strike by their juniors.

In an urgent memorandum to the Chitungwiza Central Hospital management, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) gave notice that its members would be withdrawing their services, starting yesterday, awaiting government to resolve their issues.

“ZHDA would like to inform you that Government Medical Officers (GMOs) will not be able to discharge their duties from March 1, 2017 until further notice.

“The ZHDA is in negotiations with the ministry of Health demanding the following: GMO posts for doctors who would have finished internship and re-grading of GMOs who are still earning JRMO salaries.

“An upward review of on-call allowances, duty-free facility for vehicle importation. Our members are overwhelmed with working with little to no resources; the situation is no longer tenable for them and the patients.”

On Monday, nurses joined the junior doctors following failure by government to provide a clear roadmap on when it was going to pay bonuses to the sector as well as other issues.

This came as the strike by doctors enters its third week, forcing the government to deploy army medics to try and mitigate the mayhem at major public hospitals, after the State failed with its ill-advised threats to force the doctors to return to work.

At the same time, the leadership of civil servants’ unions has warned the government that their members are fed up with its endless promises to address their grievances, including paying them their bonuses.

Junior doctors went on strike three weeks ago to press the government to honour its promises of improving their working conditions.

But stung by the strike, the government threatened that it was going to terminate the services of all doctors who continued to stay away from work — a threat that miserably failed to achieve the desired result.

Doctors want the government to revise upwards, to a minimum of $720 on call allowances for the least paid doctors, and that the Health Services Board urgently implements the agreed duty-free framework for all government doctors.

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