GOVERNMENT hospital doctors yesterday staged yet another demonstration (after Friday’s) at their employers’ offices — the Health Services Board (HSB) — demanding their full dues.
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
The striking doctors, who have vowed to carry on with their protest despite threats and letters of cessation of salary, have accused the HSB of incompetence and Health minister David Parirenyatwa of ignoring their plight.
Referring to Parirenyatwa as the “monster of health” the doctors said they were unfazed by the letters which informed them of cessation of salaries.
“They are telling us to go back to work, but the hospitals are empty, no drugs, and no equipment to use. Why is Parirenyatwa not addressing this as a state of emergency? He is arrogant,” the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) spokesperson Mxolisi Ngwenya said.
The doctors’ strike which enters day 27 has plunged the country into a health crisis and once again reflected the lack of political will in plugging perennial job actions in the health sector.
Every year medical personnel go on industrial action, which always impacts negatively on the operations of mostly public health facilities.
The doctors were riled by the fact that the Health ministry and the HSB have been “misrepresenting facts and acting in bad faith”.
“The minister appeared on national television and told lies. That is not what we agreed on. We want $10 per hour on call and not the paltry $1,50 they are giving us now,” the doctors argued.
Among their other concerns was the fact that private pharmacies were well-stocked and yet those for the public sector were empty.
Waving placards denouncing both Parirenyatwa and HSB, the doctors called on HSB board chairperson Lovemore Mbengeranwa to resign.
Asked if they were not concerned about their patients’ plight, the doctors said the ministry was responsible for ensuring the health of the nation and should pay them accordingly.
“Doctors are hired guns and we will continue to fight for what is rightfully ours. The blood of the patients is on their hands,” said Ngwenya, who added that history had taught them that if they went back to work without the issues written in black and white nothing will materialise.
“In 2014, we agreed on certain points, but they backtracked once we went back to work. This time we are not going back until pen has been put to paper.”
Yesterday, ophthalmology registrars also joined the strike, saying they were aggrieved by the lack of urgency in addressing all the key issues affecting them.
“The grievances put forward by the interns resonate with us all.”
An ophthalmologist is a specialist in medical and surgical eye disease.