A HEALTH time bomb is ticking at the country’s major referral hospitals, mainly Harare Central and Parirenyatwa, where skeletal medical staff reported for duty yesterday, where they only attended to emergency cases, while the majority stayed out in protest over non-payment of their December salaries and annual bonuses for 2015.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
In a joint statement on Sunday, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) and Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (Zina) urged their members to continue with the strike until the government paid their December salaries today as promised by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya last week.
“The ZHDA and Zina executive committees continue to call on their members not to report for duty until they receive their salaries,” said the health workers in a joint statement.
“Should there be no action by the government, the ZHDA and Zina leaderships call upon the few remaining health workers, who had remained in the hospitals, to down tools from Monday January 4, 2016.”
NewsDay observed that the few nurses and doctors on duty at Parirenyatwa and Harare Central hospitals were on a go-slow, culminating in long queues.
The health workers have defied calls by Health minister David Parirenyatwa to report for duty, while their salary grievances were being looked into.
Patients interviewed by NewsDay at Parirenyatwa said the situation was untenable and urged the government to urgently address the medical workers’ grievances to save lives.
“Yes, there are doctors here, but very slow and this is worrying,” one patient at Harare Central Hospital’s outpatient department, who claimed to have been in the queue for two hours, said.
Acting Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Lazarus Dokora said healthcare workers will get their December salaries today and moved to dispel rumours that the pay date for the concerned workers had been pushed forward.