Doctors have made sensational claims that the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is intimidating them by threatening to cut all doctors’ salaries by half and other devious means, The Mail and Telegraph has learnt.
This threat has however not dettered the doctors at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals doctors and they have joined their counterparts at Mlipo Central Hospital and took to the streets .
The health practitioners are protesting over worsening working conditions and the shortage of drugs and working material. They are also against the sale of available drugs in foreign currency and also the dilapidated hospital infrastructure.
Doctors are demanding to be paid in United states dollars as they say the cost of living has become too high.
The doctors lamented over poor remuneration and poor working conditions in public hospitals and blame the government for not lending them an ear and address the crisis which has affected patients as well.
Junior doctors started their strike early this month before some senior doctors and radiographers joined them.
In a statement Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said negotiations have happened in bad faith
“Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association would like to expose the lack of professionalism exhibited by the Ministry of health to the nation.
“This comes in the wake of the industrial action which has been poorly addressed by the Ministry resulting in prolonged interruption of healthcare services to patients.
“The Ministry appears to be dismally failing the nation in providing the constitutionally guaranteed right to access basic healthcare services.
“The negotiations done so far have happened in bad faith without observation of signed agreements and laws by the ministry.
“Instead of addressing the grievances, the ministry has instead focused on media
propaganda and victimizing its own workers without any legal justification for their actions. This has come down to the ministry chaotically cutting the salaries of all doctors including that of those who were still attending to emergency cases in government hospitals. Isolated members have has also focused on threatening workers with all sorts of illegal methods instead of addressing the healthcare of the nation,” ZHDA said.
ZHDA said all doctors who remained behind to attend to emergencies have since informed the association that they were joining the strike with immediate effect.
“Heart breaking as it is, the move has greatly demoralized all government hospitals doctors,
and the few senior personnel who were still attending to emergencies have since indicated to the association that they will be withdrawing their services with immediate effect.
“ District and Provincial government doctors have also indicated the same. It boggles the mind to think how the Honorable ministers expects the workers to return to work when the ministry is violating workers’ rights in front of the whole nation.
“The negotiations done yesterday were supposed to kick off a series of similar negotiations which were supposed to resolve the impasse in the shortest possible time.
The ministry had indicated no signs of addressing the welfare of its workers. Regardless, the association was in the process of consulting its members and gathering up a feedback so that the negotiations may speed up.
“No agreements had been solidly signed it was the beginning of the negotiation process. The methods used by the ministry have however left the association and its members baffled,” ZHDA said.
The association said it was hoping that doctors would go back to work today but that was not the case as they are continuing with the strike.
“The association was hoping that all its members would have returned to work by this day but it’s disappointing to note that the Ministry of Health seems not to appreciate the effects of prolonged and poor management of the industrial action.
“As it stands, doctors are continuing with the industrial action which now enters day 14,” the association said.
ZHDA called upon the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to put the interest of the nation at heart.
“We call upon the Ministry of Health and Child welfare to put the interests of the nation at heart. As a nation we have a vision of achieving an upper middle income economy status by 2030, such an achievement can only occur with a stable health care system,” the association said.
Efforts to reach the Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr Obadiah Moyo were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.