Call for doctors to end strike

Published: 04 December 2018
Government yesterday urged striking junior doctors to go back to work while it was looking into their grievances. Junior doctors at public health facilities downed tools on Saturday citing several challenges such as bad working conditions, low salaries and lack of basic medicines and equipment.

In an interview , Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the industrial strike by the doctors was illegal. "The junior doctors embarked on industrial action but this is illegal.

They should have gone through a process of notifying the Health Service Board and making sure that everyone is aware, unfortunately that wasn't done. We had a meeting with the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors' Association and they explained the situation and they agreed that the industrial action was illegal.

"However, we decided to look at their grievances especially those which we can solve as a ministry starting with the availability of fuel and also improving the possibility of doctors arriving at work on time. We are urging people the doctors, the junior doctors to go back to work. It is much more sensible for them to be at work".

Dr Moyo said one of the draw backs was that of fuel and Government is making arrangements for it to be availed.

"I have given an instruction that all the health institutions which have got petrol and diesel tanks should have them filled. I am going to be negotiating with the Minister of Energy to make sure that fuel is made available at all the health institutions. We also look at petrol stations where we can make arrangements for our doctors to be given priority to draw fuel, so that they don't spend the whole day in the queue. We want them to be working on the patients rather than being in the queues," he said.

He said the payment of doctors in US dollars was not possible at the moment. There is no foreign currency in the country to buy medicines for use in hospitals, and that particular aspect of paying individuals in US dollars is not possible.

"The President has been encouraging the pharmacists to sell drugs in local currency because there is no foreign currency, people cannot get foreign currency. If we were to try and say we are going to be paying people in foreign currency it would eat into the allocations for medicines, fuel and others things. Arrangements are being made as we access foreign currency. As we await for country to country arrangements to mature, there are some institutions who are willing to provide us with medication and medical sundries so this can be are ongoing process. The shortages are for real and we need to restock," he said.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Care was allocated $10 million for vehicles but only $4 million was disbursed.

"My Ministry is immediately going to embark on a re-evaluation of a vehicle loan scheme to assist healthcare workers with transportation". After the meeting, the junior doctors' representatives agreed to go back to work.
- chronicle
Tags: Doctors,


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