More doctors join strike

More doctors yesterday joined the on-going strike, defying a government message to call off the job action.

BY VANESSA GONYE/EVERSON MUSHAVA

The doctors have been on strike since Saturday to protest poor remuneration and the deteriorating health situation in the country.

“Only four out of 91 doctors came for work and I think the rest are waiting for talks between the doctors’ association and the employer over the issue of solving their problems before they report for duty,” Harare Central Hospital CEO Nyasha Masuka said.

Parirenyatwa Hospital and public health institutions in Manicaland and Bulawayo faced similar situations, with Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospital keeping their out patient departments closed.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) yesterdya also distanced itself from utterances made by former member, Patrick Mugoni, who “represented” doctors at a meeting with the Health minister on Monday and appeared on the national televison urging doctors to go back to work.

Mugoni, who was ZHDA secretary-general until a few weeks ago when he was removed from office through a vote of no confidence for being partisan, is said to have met with Health minister, Obadiah Moyo on the pretext that he was representating the association and subsequently announced that doctors should resume duties with immediate effect while their grievances have not been addressed.

ZHDA said Mugoni was a bogus agent and not one of their own.

“The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association wishes to advise members of the medical profession, the media and the public at large of the futile attempts by one Patrick Mugoni, who appeared on ZBC purporting to represent ZHDA. The concerned doctor has been fired from the association for bringing the name of ZHDA into disrepute and violating the constitution of the ZHDA.”

“Dr Patrick Mugoni was suspended from the ZHDA after ‘crying’ while addressing the Zanu PF rally in Gweru. The ZHDA executive urges all stakeholders to ignore his utterances and any communication on the industrial action will be made through the information department,” ZHDA said in a statement.

ZHDA also promised to have Mugoni examined by colleagues in the profession and to give him psychological help and counselling, if needed.

Mugoni is infamous for weeping on national television after the doctors were awarded a pay hike in March. He said at the time he had been overwhelmed by emotions.

Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (Zina) secretary-general, Enock Dongo, speaking on behalf of the Health Services Board yesterday said health workers were still negotiating with government.

“We are still negotiating with government, doctors are a single union that has downed tools, we appreciate that they have a genuine cause,” Dongo said.

Cabinet yesterday said it did not deliberate on the issue of the doctors’ strike.

“We did not discuss about the doctors’ strike because the Health minister told us that he talked to the them and that they have agreed to go back to work,” acting Information minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said yesterday.

The doctors expressed concern at the Health minister’s conduct.

“We wish to set the record straight that the industrial action that started on the 1st of December 2018 is still ongoing and the healthcare crisis in the country has reached an unprecedented critical level. Instead of addressing what is now perceived as a serious national health crisis, the Minister of Health seems to display an ‘I do not care’ attitude and ‘it is business as usual’ approach.

“We are even greatly disturbed that the minister went on national television in the evening of (Monday) to misinform the whole nation that the ongoing industrial action has been called off. He went on to acknowledge there is a serious shortage of vital medicines in public hospitals but nothing was being done,” ZHDA said.

Other stakeholders also laid into the Health minister for not handling the issue professionally.

“It is shocking that the Health minister Obadiah Moyo dwells on the legality of the job action than solutions as if he is reading from his predecessor’s script. No responsible and accountable minister or government would turn a blind eye to a crisis of this magnitude or wishes it away. We are in this health crisis minister because your predecessor (David Parirenyatwa) used to behave the same way: burying his head in the sand than tackling the issue head-on,” Community Working Group on Health director Itai Rusike said.

“We would like to remind the government that it has a national obligation to see that its citizens have access to quality and affordable health services as guaranteed in section 76 of the country’s Constitution. And that responsibility can only be achieved when health personnel like doctors, physicians and nurses are working normally,” Rusike said.

Meanwhile, Moyo at a Press conference revealed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has unveiled a $25 million drug facility, with about 100 000 tonnes of medicine set to arrive from India.

24 Comments

  1. Where is that weeping Doctor? Call him to cry and things will be sorted out. He was hero worshiping ED at a Rally, now look what has happened with his same hero still in charge.

    1. blame him all you like but this dispensation is better than the last. what our doctors need to know and value is that life has no rehearsal, lives are being lost while they protesting with you dying to send a message that this dispensation is not working. when you lose a loved one in times like these, that is when you will realise that dialogue is necessary than job action.

  2. Is it REALLY about people’s health or is it as usual selfish interests? These doctors should demonstrate that they REALLY CARE about people – their track record suggests otherwise

    1. Don’t be foolish. The govt should show care to doctors by providing equipment & drugs for them to use in their jobs. The govt is actually in breach of NSSA regulations by exposing workers to diseases since they do not have protective equipment like gloves

  3. Your Name (required):Special Black

    Only those who have not yet been admiited in hospital cannot understand the importance of doctors and nurses. We feel they should be given what is there gradually. They should also understand that some political parties called for sanctions. Now in a country where there are sanctions investors think twice to come and invest. I think the Doctors should go back to work for the sake of ubuntu. Some may like this on political grounds but before sun set you find yourself in a hospital without doctors.

    1. Vazvinyanya Vanhu ava

      when we talk of UBUNTU let all those more senior than these doctors, perm secs, ministers as well as the president start to earn salaries identical to these striking doctors as a sign of proper intent to work for the people not themselves tione vakazvigona. Don’t expect doctors to work non stop for peanuts in the name of sasving lives while their bosses are merry making globe trotting and doing silly meetings and earning hoardes of cash for that. they should start saving lives too by having their excess allowances buying medicines

  4. no forex for medicined but there is forex for chief’s cars. So sad indeed

  5. In as much as Doctors deserve improved conditions of service, they should strike a balance between demands and humanity. people are dying in hospitals, while they are busy striking.

  6. it would be commendable if Doctors engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders so that Government and citizens all pull in one direction. industrial actions will not solve anything except hurting everyone on the ground.

  7. It seems we are now losing are ethical values, some of us no longer value life, doctors should value life first. Why is it that its the health sector which goes on strike first.?

  8. these strikes only hurt the common man, the patients lying in hospitals.Doctors should learn to communicate through dialogue not deliberately punishing people they took an oath to serve.

    1. Do you seriously think they have not tried dialogoue before going on strike

  9. Doctors have every right to express their grievances through industrial action. I am a practising medical doctor and I can confidently tell you that my being in a hospital with archaic equipment and no basic medication like paracetamol is absolutely absurd and pointless. How do you expect me to save a life without the resources I need! its like going to war without the weaponry or arsenal, absolutely pointless. So all you people busy blaming doctors for not having ubuntu are absolutely mistaken or hoodwinked state agents I’d advise you to get your facts straight before blindly blaming us.

  10. even if they go to work no medicines to use the different is the same…gvmnt shud just stop selfish interests

  11. even if they go to work no medicines to use the different is the same…gvmnt shud just stop selfish interests

  12. doctors have every right to fight the government plus they are not only fighting for renumeration but working conditions as well

  13. doctors have every right to fight the government plus they are not only fighting for renumeration but working conditions as well

  14. Lorraine Mukute

    Doctors fall under critical services who by the nature of their duties are not supposed to go on industrial action. The current economic challenges are not only affecting them but everyone in the country. There are procedures and protocols to be exhausted before resorting to industrial action. While their concerns are genuine, their method of having their voice heard is the one in question here. They should not take advantage of the situation and hold the government at ransom. Dialogue with their employer is all we ask for

    1. Masamba ndiwo mamwe

      They have been in dialogue ever since. This year alone Doctors have been trying to engage new Health minister but it seems like he is a carbon copy of Parirenyatwa. This strike is more than their personal needs as doctors its to call on the government to be more serious for its citizens. Why can’t you see the bigger picture and the demands of this country’s citizens?

  15. Being a Doc is just like any other job. No one can work for free.

  16. doctors are right in every revolution pple die if pple die so that we vote wisely so be it

  17. Guys with all due respect we have no obligation to the public but government has
    Not the doctor not the nurse or the pharmacist
    It is government’s duty to provide health for all
    Saka if u can’t access what you need from the health sector then yo beef is with the government
    They should provide

    Doctors are just workers trying to fend for their families as well
    Worse with the current economic challenges they are broke
    Things are tough
    They was no need for dialogue
    Everyone knows things went up
    Hakuna fuel and u still expect them to perform not only them all civil servants
    Varipatight
    Rent yakudiwa in us dollars or ×the prevailing rate
    Macombi akwira it’s just chaos
    Other companies gave vanhu ma hardship allowance but gvt turned a blind eye vangoti 1:1
    They should just open mashops for civil servants where they can get zvinhu at the subsidised rate
    Like fuel
    Otherwise
    Maone
    Things are not well in the country

  18. Rungano Dzikira

    Whilst doctors or any other worker in this country has a right to demonstrate, doctors shld bear in mind that they fall under the critical services and hence need to exhaust all channels of communication and negotiation before going for industrial action, otherwise varwere vangapera kufa. Torega vanhu vachifa nekuda mari here?Lets value human life

    1. tobata manyoka and blood withour bare hands due to lack basic things like gloves and getting TBs due to lack of proper N95 face masks?????

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