DOCTORS at public hospitals have given the government a 21-day ultimatum to address their grievances over poor working conditions, or they will down tools.
By SINDISO DUBE
In a letter dated February 5 and addressed to Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) demanded an improvement in their working conditions as part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government’s 100-day rapid results programme.
ZDHA has more than 3 000 members.
“This follow-up letter is to inform the minister and other health stakeholders that doctors at various institutions nationwide will be incapacitated to discharge their normal duties after 21 days from today (February 5) if the following work conditions, in no particular order of importance, are not effected to our satisfaction,” the letter read.
Among other demands, the doctors want the government to provide adequate hospital equipment and essential medicines to allow them to provide quality service to patients at both district and central hospitals.
Doctors also called for the uplifting of a blanket freeze on recruitment of doctors and other health workers with immediate effect.
This includes creation of posts to absorb the current interns at central and district hospitals and government officers, to curb service under-staffing nationwide.
“Resolving these issues will go a long way in rebuilding our health sector and will ensure quality service delivery at our institutions.
“We look forward to working hand in glove with the ministry to achieve a state that has renowned health system, for it is the tax payer’s right to receive adequate and appropriate health car,” the letter read.
Last year, the government was forced to deploy army medics to major public hospitals following a strike by junior doctors, who were demanding an increase in call allowances and a duty-free car import facility.