private practice medical practitioners, under the Medicinal and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA) banner, say they are now burdened with the health crisis and have called on the government to urgently address the situation.
MDPPZA interim president Johannes Marisa said the health situation obtaining in the country was unfortunate and was claiming many lives.
“We are burdened very much. The majority of patients who go to public hospitals are low income patients who can’t afford drugs and services from private health centres,” Marisa said.
“In some instances, we end up doing free consultations because the patients cannot pay. It’s a toll order for us.”
Marisa, a medical doctor operating a number of health centres in Harare, believes there is still room for negotiation between the government and medical practitioners who have not been reporting for duty for over two months, demanding better working conditions. Thousands of people are dying prematurely after operations at public hospitals were suspended in the wake of the protracted doctors’ strike.
Government has fired 211 medical practitioners in the past fortnight over the salary-induced job boycotts, plunging the public health sector in disarray.
“That’s the most unfortunate decision by government. As far as we know, the doctors have legitimate grievances that ought to be considered,” he said.
“Firing the doctors and other medical practitioners will not solve anything; instead, it will add salt to an injury.
“As we speak, mortality in hospitals and in the country at large has reached alarming levels because of lack of medical attention. “Government should immediately engage the striking doctors in a bid to come up with solutions as soon as possible.”
Over the weekend, the Zimbabwe Medical Doctors’ Association said the situation at public hospitals was dire and people were dying in large numbers.